The future of the U.S. Space program has a North Texas connection. A company out of Caddo Mills is building a sub-orbital vehicle for space tourism. They're also working with NASA to help with future space missions.
Wednesday, Armadillo Aerospace, test launched a lunar module prototype at its launching pad at the Caddo Mills Municipal Airport.
"Its just another day at the office for us," said Phil Eaton with Armadillo Aerospace.
What started as a hobby 10 years ago, now is a full-fledged business that is quickly making the team at Armadillo Aerospace a part of the future of the U.S. Space program and beyond.
"It was just a bunch of guys getting together on Saturdays playing with some very expensive and healthy-sized toys," said Neil Milburn, Vice President of Program Management at Armadillo Aerospace.
On Wednesday, the team launched a prototype they've partnered with NASA to test.
"It's to test out some of these capabilities on the ground. To understand how they work. To further improve our capabilities so that we can prepare for an eventual launch to the moon," said Jon Olansen with NASA.
"The reason they partnered with us is we can do things phenomenally quickly," said Milburn. "In three months, we've gotten a vehicle that's test flying that would have probably taken them three years."
Ten years ago, the team at Armadillo Aerospace never thought they'd be where they are today.
"Never dreamt that it would turn into this,' said Milburn. They have launched a labor of love into a successful venture which is sure to take them to the final frontier. "It's more than just a hobby," said Eaton. "Its been our way of life for a long time."
Armadillo Aerospace is still building its sub-orbital vehicle for space tourism travel. They have partnered with Space Adventures, who will handle marketing and ticket sales. When the vehicle is complete, space tourists will fly 62 miles above the Earth's surface for 5 minutes of weightlessness.