AUGUSTA, Kan. (KSNW) – The space race is on, and a Kansas business is lending a helping hand.

FILE -The NASA Artemis rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard stands on pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Friday, March 18, 2022. NASA is kicking off a critical countdown test for its new moon rocket. The two-day dress rehearsal began Friday, April 1, 2022 at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center and will culminate Sunday with the loading of the rocket’s fuel tanks. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

D-J Engineering in Augusta is playing a role in NASA’s next trip to the moon with Artemis 1.

“It’s the largest rocket ever. It’s the beginning of going back to the moon after a half-century, and instead, this time, we’re going back to learn, to live, and we are getting ready, so we can send humans to Mars and even further out into the cosmos,” explained Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator.

D-J Engineering is manufacturing parts for the Space Launch System for Artemis 1.

“We’ve been working on this project for, I think, we started in 2013 with our first parts and to see it come as far as it has and be on the launch pad and ready to go. We’re extremely excited and extremely prideful,” said Ryan Hernandez, D-J Engineering, Vice President of Engineering.

The machine is creating the two rings that will go on top of the fuel tank.

“I would say it’s one of the most prideful things I’ve done in my career and for us as a company,” Hernandez said.

On Friday, Nelson and U.S. Senator Jerry Moran visited Augusta to see the progress.

“I think space is a growing business, both in the public and in the private sector, and we want to make sure that area manufacturers and their employees have an opportunity to participate,” said Senator Moran.

The test launch for Artemis 1 is set for Aug. 29. Then, the rocket will send four people up to the moon and beyond two years later.