MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – A Marquette based aerospace company is making global headlines after inking a contract with the International Space Station.
Kall Morris Incorporated was started in late 2019 by three Northern Michigan University Graduates. The company currently has an office in downtown Marquette where over half of their employees work out of. The other employees are based in various locations throughout the country. The company is well versed with remote work, since it was started just before the Covid-19 pandemic.
The founders Adam Kall, Austin Morris, and Troy M. Morris, all shared a passion for space exploration, but realized an obstacle that will limit the future of space travel.
“The reality is the problem with space debris is going to be an existential crisis if no one does anything about it,” remarked co-founder Adam Kall, who serves as KMI’s Director of Science.
NASA defines space debris as both natural meteoroid and human-made orbital debris. Things like rocket boosters and retired satellites continue to orbit the earth at speeds up to 17,000 miles per hour, faster than the speed of a bullet. KMI says the problem is humans and satellites are not bulletproof.
“If we can remove that we can remove the risk for other objects that might be collided with,” commented co-founder Austin Morris, who also serves as the company’s Director of Engineering.
The solution is a module which will intercept and collect space debris. The unmanned module will hitch a ride to space on a rocket already being sent to space.
“We are building here, in house, in Marquette the payload that goes on the end of a spacecraft, you can think about it as the plow on the end of a truck, we are building the plow and buying the truck,” added Morris.
The eventual goal is to recycle and reuse some of the debris collected. After being relocated to the International Space Station or a similar station, metals such as aluminum can be melted and reused.
“That is a whole new kind of growing ecosystem of in space manufacturing,” said Morris.
While most aerospace companies decide to base their operations out of urban areas or the coasts, KMI has gone a different route
“What we’re building doesn’t require us to be anywhere in particular, so why not be where we actually want to be, and that happens to be Marquette,” Morris said about the decision to
KMI says the company will be expanding in the near future and wants to give upper peninsula residents, and recent college graduates opportunities they didn’t have.
“We wished we could have stayed here after graduating northern, but the jobs we wanted to perform did not exist, and now we have the jobs to come back and create those jobs for the next generation that likewise wants to stay in the U.P,” said Kall.
As of now KMI plans to launch a test run of their module to the International Space Station next year.