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San Luis Obispo company builds parts for NASA's Perseverance rover

Next Intent NASA part
Posted at 11:40 PM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 02:40:30-05

NASA's Perseverance rover touched down on Mars Thursday and a San Luis Obispo company contributed to it get there.

San Luis Obispo-based Next Intent was started in 1996 by CEO Rodney Babcock and his wife. Now, the company has 30 employees and specializes in complex parts for spacecraft, defense, aerospace, and national laboratories.

For the Perseverance rover, Next Intent built three components out of titanium and aluminum, including two for NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena.

This is the third NASA mission Next Intent has been a part of.

"There's 500,000 lines of code from the time it enters the atmosphere until it lands," Babcock said after Perseverance landed on Mars. "So (you feel) scared but excited and then when it happens, it's just elation and joy."

Each of the components Next Intent made had to be precise down to 1/1000th of an inch.

Next Intent will also be building parts for NASA's Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope.

This telescope — named after NASA's Chief of Astronomy in the 1960s and 1970s — takes all of the information learned from the Hubble Space Telescope and applies it to new technology.

That telescope is currently scheduled to launch in 2025.