Oerlikon partners with United Launch Alliance to manufacture launch vehicle flight components
Oerlikon AM, the additive manufacturing unit of global technology powerhouse Oerlikon, announces it will provide metal additively manufactured qualification and flight components for United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) next-generation Vulcan Centaur rocket. ULA is the world’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider, with more than 130 launches and 100 percent mission success.
ULA will design and develop the components, while Oerlikon supports with Design for AM, printing and post-processing. The nickel alloy 718 components will be printed in Oerlikon AM’s new, large state-of-the-art, AS9100-certified metal AM facility in Huntersville, North Carolina. Finished components will be delivered to ULA’s 1.6-million-square-foot factory in Decatur, Alabama. ULA is on track for the first Vulcan Centaur launch in 2021.
Oerlikon worked with ULA to complete a six-month process qualification to demonstrate properties that met ULA’s rigorous requirements for test and flight hardware.
“We are very excited about this alliance, which allows us to manufacture a number of flight components for ULA,” said Dr. Sven Hicken, Head of Oerlikon’s Additive Manufacturing Business Unit. “ULA is a leader in using additive manufacturing to reduce production lead times and increase performance in launch vehicles. Vulcan Centaur will advance the use of AM in rockets, and we are looking forward to the launch in 2021.”