JOPLIN, Mo. — An area company’s success is literally out of this world. But they need your help promoting their products outside the Joplin area.
It would be accurate to say that Eagle Picher Technologies of Joplin has the Red Planet covered, both on and above its surface.
“We have vehicles that orbit Mars for communication, we have landers on the surface and then all four rovers that are on the surface of Mars, we provided the power for all those,” said Ron Nowlin, Senior V.P. Aerospace Systems, Eagle Picher.
And while many of us in the Four State area are aware of the huge role the company has played since the very start of the U.S. Space Program, which continues to this day, outside of the area are still learning about it.
“When that vehicle landed on the surface of Mars we had an employee watch party and again everyone got very involved, you know, we had special t-shirts for the employees made up and things like that so it is a bit of a special moment whenever again putting the product on the surface of Mars,” said Nowlin.
This battery, which powers the two newest rovers operating on Mars, has been nominated as one of 16 products in the running for the “Coolest Thing Made in the Ozarks.” That competition is put on by the Springfield Business Journal, and to be honest, Nowlin doesn’t have any idea who nominated the product for the competition.
“We are the premier space battery manufacturer, we have over 600 satellites in orbit powering everything from man-made missions to space research to GPS satellites,” said Jackie Kennedy, Eagle Picher Senior Program Manager.
Kennedy says the battery weighs in just under 60 pounds but is designed to power the rover for seven years, but she says many E.P. batteries end up working at least twice as long as designed. She says the success of their products on a worldwide stage serves as a source of pride and motivation for employees.
“Don’t really realize it until you actually see it happening in real-time so just getting that news every day and see the mission go longer and longer and longer, it’s pretty powerful,” said Kennedy.