Press Release

Marshall Center to Conduct Welding Tool Demonstration

By SpaceRef Editor
August 11, 2008
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On Monday, Aug. 11, an historic first in hardware development for the Ares I Upper Stage will occur at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center: The first “official” weld will be made with tools that soon will manufacture test articles of major hardware for the Ares I rocket – the rocket that will send future astronauts into orbit.

A cutting edge technology metal joining process known as friction stir welding, first used in aerospace on the space shuttle external tank in 2005, will be used. This type of welding produces high-strength, almost defect-free joint welds and can uniformly weld materials together — a vital requirement of next-generation launch vehicles and hardware that must endure long-term space travel.

During a news media opportunity, media will be briefed about the Marshall Center’s significant role in the assembly of Ares I Upper Stage hardware. There’ll be a tour of manufacturing and assembly areas of the Marshall Center’s Weld Development Facility and a demonstration of the Robotic Weld Tool to be used to manufacture Ares I Upper Stage test articles.

NASA is at work developing hardware and systems for the Ares I. Beginning in 2015, an Ares I rocket will launch the Orion crew capsule and six astronauts, and small pressurized cargo payloads, to the International Space Station. The Ares I rocket is a single, five-segment reusable solid rocket booster derived from the Space Shuttle Program’s reusable solid rocket motor. Ares I may also use its 25-ton payload capacity to deliver resources and supplies to the International Space Station, or to “park payloads” in orbit for retrieval by other spacecraft bound for the moon or other destinations.

WHAT: Friction Stir Welding Demonstration and its significance in the assembly of Ares I Upper Stage development hardware test articles

WHO: Tim Vaughan, Chief of Metals Engineering Branch, Materials and Processes Laboratory

Bob Carter, Lead Weld Development Facility Engineer, Metals Engineering Branch, Materials and Processes Laboratory

WHERE: Marshall Space Flight Center, Building 4755 South Bay, Weld Development Facility

WHEN: Monday, Aug. 11, 2 p.m. CDT

TO ATTEND: News media interested in covering the event should contact the Marshall Public & Employee Communications Office at (256) 544-0034 no later than Monday, Aug. 11, 10 a.m. Media must report to the Redstone Arsenal Joint Visitor Control Center at Gate 9, Interstate 565 interchange at RideoutRoad/Research Park Boulevard. Vehicles are subject to a security search at the gate. News media will need two photo identifications and proof of car insurance. Media will be escorted to Building 4755. Visitor parking is available in front of Bldg. 4200 on the southwest side.

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SpaceRef staff editor.