NASA Turns Up the Heat on Construction of the Space Launch System
An adapter for the Orion spacecraft under
construction at the Marshall Center.
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In a high bay of Marshall’s Building 4755, expert welders using state-of-the-art friction stir welding machines worked on two separate adapters. For each adapter, a vertical welding machine stitched panels together to form a conical cylinder, then a circumferential welding machine attached a thicker, structural support ring at the top and the bottom.
"While the adapters are identical and are considered flight articles, only one will actually be used for EFT-1," said Brent Gaddes, Spacecraft & Payload Integration Subsystem manager. "The other will undergo strenuous structural testing to ensure quality, while its twin will make the trip to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for integration into the rest of the test vehicle for launch."
United Launch Alliance (ULA), which makes the Delta IV rocket in nearby Decatur, Ala., will deliver a full-size section of the rocket later this spring for engineers to test the fit of the adapter.
"You really don't have the tools and the resources in one place anywhere else in the world," said Justin Littell, a mechanical engineer with the welding group at the Marshall Center. "The work that we do here is exciting and I get to work with a great team. It's amazing."
See the friction stir welds in action in the video below:
by Bill Hubscher
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
Kim Henry, 256-544-0034
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 28 February 2014 - 10:30 PM.