Dynetics recently met a milestone in the company's work on the Space Launch System (SLS) Advanced Booster Engineering Demonstration and/or Risk Reduction (ABEDRR) contract. Using the robotic weld tool at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, the Dynetics friction stir weld team successfully completed the first two dome to y-ring welds as part of its work on a full-scale cryogenic tank for the SLS. The cryogenic tank is an 18-foot diameter welded aluminum structure that weighs more than 20,000 pounds and is composed of some of the thickest material ever welded on that tool.
The two-dome assemblies will be welded to barrels on the vertical assembly tool at Marshall Space Flight Center later this spring to form a complete tank. This will be the first full-scale hardware to be welded on the vertical assembly tool.
This work is part of a contract NASA awarded in the fall of 2012 and is being performed in partnership with Aerojet Rocketdyne to reduce risks for advanced boosters that could help meet SLS's future capability needs. Dynetics, the prime contractor, is designing and fabricating a full-scale cryogenic tank that it will test to verify the structural design of the affordable booster concept.
At the end of the contract's third quarter, the Dynetics team had successfully manufactured its first two full-scale, 18-foot diameter cryogenic tank barrels, taking advantage of the cutting edge friction stir welding tools at Marshall Space Flight Center. Kim Doering, Dynetics' space division manager, said the team took the flight-weight tank barrels all the way from design to successful manufacturing in less than 10 months, demonstrating that Dynetics' affordable booster structures approach was credible.
"We are pleased to be making such significant progress," said Doering, "and are excited to be working in such close partnership with Marshall Space Flight Center to advance its mission."