Making space: KMI holds open house
Journal Staff Writer
MARQUETTE — Who would have thought a few years ago that an orbital debris research and solution development company would be located in Marquette?
Such a company, Kall Morris Inc., held a ribbon cutting and open house on Wednesday to show the public its headquarters in the lower level of the Masonic Square Mall, located at 132 W. Washington St. People also watched presentations at Campfire Coworks, also located in the mall.
The company was founded by three Northern Michigan University alumni: Adam Kall, director of science; Austin Morris, director of engineering; and Troy Morris, director of operations.
KMI is developing technology to rendezvous, retrieve and relocate objects in orbit to safeguard space and space-related services. The company, which focuses on active debris removal for “keeping space clear for all,” plans to move from the lab to low-earth orbit in 2024.
KMI recently was awarded a U.S. Air Force contract to investigate methods to enable rendezvous proximity operations and docking with “uncontrolled and unprepared objects in orbit for active debris removal using its TumblEye technology.
“This USAF effort will expanded the capabilities of KMI to solve unexpected issues in other domains, and answer the recognized unknowns in the space domain,” Troy Morris said in a news release announcing the contract.
Marquette Mayor Cody Mayer welcomed the KMI team to the Marquette area at the open house.
“I know that they had a lot of options, and thankfully, the best candidate won out as far as location,” Mayer said.
Marty Fittante, CEO of InvestUP, a partner with KMI, complimented the “Space Rangers” — the KMI employees.
“We’re so grateful for you locating in the Upper Peninsula, bringing this incredible opportunity to the Upper Peninsula and to Marquette so show that we can do any type of business, including business in outer space, to the Upper Peninsula,” Fittante said.
Matt Okoneski, venture associate at Michigan Rise and Red Cedar Ventures in Ann Arbor, said, “We’ve seen the space tech sector really take off in Michigan, and it’s just a thrill to be a part of it and invest in this young company.”
Troy Morris said the company wants to go after the debris that threatens “each every one of us.”
That debris, he pointed out, could affect other things in space.
“It’s pretty hard to get a signal from around the world if you’re not bouncing off satellites,” Troy Morris said.
Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 550. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.