RUAG Space USA begins production on U.S.-made first flight hardware
(3 December 2018 - RUAG Space) RUAG Space, a leading supplier of products for the space industry and trusted partner of NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), has completed and passed a Manufacturing Readiness Review (MRR) for the Payload Fairing for United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V-500. This will be the first U.S.-made flight hardware by RUAG Space USA in Decatur, Alabama.
The scope of the MRR was a ULA and RUAG review and approval of readiness to perform the bonding processes of the first U.S.-made United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V-500 payload fairing, manufactured in Decatur, Alabama by RUAG Space. Participants included ULA, the U.S. Air Force, NASA, the Aerospace Corporation, and RUAG Space were all in attendance. The MRR was held November 6-8 in RUAG’s facility in Decatur – which is a part of ULA’s rocket factory.
RUAG Space has completed and passed a Manufacturing Readiness Review (MRR) for the Payload Fairing for United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V-500. This will be the first U.S.-made flight hardware by RUAG Space USA in Decatur, Alabama. (courtesy: RUAG Space)
“This milestone emphasizes our company’s commitment and focus on market growth within the United States,” said Mike Morningstar, President and Country Manager for RUAG Space USA, Inc. “We are pleased to be supplying the international space community with high grade parts and products to ensure missions are successful.”
An MRR is a formal examination of a program to determine if the design is ready for production and if the producer has accomplished adequate production planning. MRR topics presented included infrastructure, quality, safety, and all related aspects. Reviewers were invited to visit the RUAG Space production facility in Decatur and inspected for readiness (e.g., material kits available, tools calibrated, Foreign Object Debris (FOD) areas demarcated, etc.)
RUAG Space in Decatur began production of Payload Fairing flight hardware on November 26. This will be the first complete manufacture of a full-scale launch structure produced on U.S. soil. Previous production deliveries from this facility were 5, 400-ISAs (Interstage Adapters for the 400 series of the Atlas V) built partially in Switzerland and the U.S., which were all successfully delivered on time.
The second half of the MRR process will take place tentatively in mid-February, 2019. The first full payload fairing is set to be complete in the fourth quarter of 2019, to support a launch in 2020.
The RUAG Space Atlas V-500 fairing is made with composite technology based on aluminum honeycomb cores with carbon fiber reinforced plastic face sheets. It uses a state-of-the-art process – called Out-of-Autoclave – that cures the structure in one piece in an industrial oven. A demonstration test fairing was completed through the bonding processes earlier this year. The demonstration test fairing went through the complicated production process seamlessly—leveraging the latest automation technology—and went through significant testing and inspection.
RUAG Space payload fairings come in flexible measurements to fit the respective launcher. For an Atlas V-500, the fairings have a diameter of 5.4m and have a height of up to 26.5 m. Payload fairings are designed to protect the launcher’s payload on its way into orbit—from outside temperature and pressure during the launch.
RUAG Space has been supplying Atlas V-500 fairings, built in Switzerland, to ULA for more than a decade, and RUAG Space components have been the gold standard within the industry across Europe for decades more. RUAG Space missions have had a 100 percent mission success rate.
About RUAG Space
RUAG Space is a leading supplier to the space industry, with engineering and manufacturing capabilities in the U.S. and Europe. With more than 1,300 staff, it provides products for satellites and launch vehicles – playing a key role both in the commercial and institutional space market. Its product portfolio comprises electronics for satellites and launchers, mechanical and thermal products for satellites, as well as launcher structures and separation systems. RUAG Space USA currently has sites in Huntsville, Alabama (headquarters); Decatur, Alabama; Titusville, Florida; Denver, Colorado, and Santa Clara, Calif. RUAG Space is a division of the international technology company, the RUAG Group.