A southwestern Iowa firm that makes parts for engines including the space shuttle got a visit from a real astronaut Friday. Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore talked with some workers from Fansteel Wellman Dynamics and the chamber of commerce in Creston, about the shuttle. Wilmore says the “elbow” that carries liquid oxygen is made at the Creston plant and plays a big role in getting the shuttle into orbit. Wilmore brought pictures and video clips to show how the technology comes together to help put humans into space. Wilmore says seeing the factory impressed upon him how many workers it takes to get the shuttle off the ground, and he told the workers the flow of fuel is a critical part of his successful mission on the shuttle. If there’s a “hiccup” in the steady flow of fuel it can be catastrophic for the engine, so the quality of workmanship is vital. Wilmore talked with workers Friday in Creston, signed autographs, and talked about his first impressions of Iowa. Having been a Navy pilot for 17 years, Wilmore says he’s flown over Iowa but never driven through the state before and now he’s gotten a look at it, he said “You guys need rain!”Wilmore says it reminds him of a drought year in his native Tennessee. Lockheed Martin, a client of the Creston business, helped sponsor the astronaut’s visit to the Fansteel Wellman plant.
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