Umpqua Research springs to action during emergency in space

MYRTLE CREEK, Ore. -- NASA has recognized a research company in Myrtle Creek for responding to an emergency in space.

"We build devices that recycle water for the astronauts on the space station," says William Michalek, President of Umpqua Research Company.

In October 2014, a resupply rocket carrying Umpqua Research supplies for the water processor assembly exploded on takeoff.

"They had to have another set of hardware right away," Michalek explains. "They were going to have another launch in a couple months and put us on a tight schedule, all hands on deck. We have a great crew here; we all came together and we got them put together."

But then, the second resupply rocket exploded on its takeoff too. Umpqua Research Company had just six weeks to complete the water processor assembly, something that normally takes 2-3 months to do, according to Michalek.

"If we weren't able to make the launch out of Japan, which was the next launch coming out of the Space Station, they were going to have to send the astronauts home. They wouldn't have any water."

Eight people worked on the team for endless hours and made it on time for the August flight.

They were presented with an award and the astronauts were thankful.

"We want to extend our special thanks to each of you for all that you did and for your extraordinary efforts that you did over the last few months," said astronaut Scott Kelly. "We have a bird's eye view of the cities where people are working to keep the ISS supplied with essential hardware -- cities like Huntsville, Alabama and Myrtle Creek, Oregon, to name a few."

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