1960s - The Lunar Missions
Throughout the 1960’s our connectors were used on the unmanned missions that led the way for Armstrong and the rest of the Apollo 11 crew to become the first-ever humans on the lunar surface. On the 1966 Surveyor and the 1967 unmanned Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) missions, a variety of our power-connecting plugs helped the spacecraft perfect soft-landing techniques, survey potential Apollo landing sites and use robotic shovels that determined the depth and characteristics of the moon dust to ensure astronauts could land safely.
By the time the historic Apollo 11 mission delivered astronauts to the moon, our Cannon team had developed connectors for a wide variety of space-age applications. Our Cannon CM power connectors were inside the Lunar Excursion Module that detached from the rocket and landed Armstrong and his fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the moon. Other connectors supported the systems that relayed two-way communications through from the spacecraft to Earth.
And a special Microminiature K (MK) connector was developed for the Primary Life Support Systems (back packs) that Armstrong and Aldrin wore in space and on the moon. The MK connected wires in the biochemical system that monitored the astronauts’ pulse rates and heart beats. The back packs had to protect their wearers against micrometeoroid impacts and extreme temperatures, so our connectors were designed to pass strict tests for vibration, shock, temperature and other reliability issues.
Since the astronauts left their back packs behind – and none of the Surveyor craft came back to Earth – it means our Cannon connectors are still on the moon today. The success of the U.S. space missions made Cannon a valued partner to NASA. We were awarded the NASA Medallion for distinguished service for our role in the first manned lunar landing, and our connectors have been a part – and in many cases the predominant connector supplier – of every free world space mission.