Press Release

NASA Certifies Alcoa as Sole Supplier of Al-Li Alloy for Ares 1

By SpaceRef Editor
November 7, 2008
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NASA Certifies Alcoa as Sole Supplier of Al-Li Alloy for Ares 1

Alcoa announced today that NASA has certified its Davenport, Iowa, facility as the only supplier in the U.S. to produce aluminum-lithium alloy 2195 thin plate for the Ares 1 crew launch vehicle, the rocket that will enable astronauts to explore space beyond low earth orbit with the goal of reaching the moon by 2020. Davenport will produce almost 1 million pounds of the thin aluminum-lithium material for this program. The Alcoa Technical Center near Pittsburgh is casting the aluminum-lithium ingot and shipping it to Davenport, where it is rolled into thin plate for additional fabrication.

“Basically, the way back to the moon is paved right here through Alcoa Davenport,” said Steve Cook, director of NASA’s Exploration Launch office and Ares project manager. “It all starts with partners like Alcoa. You are on the front line in Davenport in helping us to take on the next exciting chapter in our space exploration efforts,” Cook said.

“Even though production metal is already moving through our facility, the qualification from NASA was vital to continue this business and reinforces Alcoa’s tradition as a provider of new aerospace materials and technology solutions for aircraft and spacecraft applications,” said Tony Morales, Alcoa Global Marketing Director, Aerospace.

In 2007, NASA awarded Alcoa an $18.5 million contract to develop the manufacturing capability and to supply the initial requirements of high performance aluminum-lithium plate and ingot to which will be used for the Ares 1 crew launch vehicle upper stage.

Learnings from Ares 1 will benefit the Ares V5, which will be the “heavy lift” cargo launch vehicle that will also feature Alcoa metal. When the actual mission to the Moon becomes reality, the plan will be to launch Ares V5 first and then launch the crew of up to six astronauts in Ares 1. The two rockets will dock in space and explore the Moon and other parts of the solar system.

About Davenport Works

Alcoa Davenport Works produces aluminum sheet and plate for a variety of industries. Materials produced here are used in aerospace and defense, passenger vehicles (cars and trucks), commercial truck and rail transportation and general manufacturing. Davenport Works opened in 1948 and is one of the largest aluminum fabricating facilities in the world. The plant has the world’s largest rolling mill as part of the production operation. The plant has more than 130 acres under roof, employs 2,200 people and generates nearly $1 million a day into the local economy. Learn more at

About Alcoa

Alcoa is the world leader in the production and management of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina combined, through its active and growing participation in all major aspects of the industry. Alcoa serves the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation and industrial markets, bringing design, engineering, production and other capabilities of Alcoa’s businesses to customers. In addition to aluminum products and components including flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings, Alcoa also markets Alcoa(R) wheels, fastening systems, precision and investment castings, and building systems. The Company has 97,000 employees in 34 countries and has been named one of the top most sustainable corporations in the world at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More information can be found at

SpaceRef staff editor.