Dynetics, Inc. is celebrating its Alabama aerospace expansion with two major announcements - the Dynetics Aerospace Structures Complex groundbreaking in Decatur and the completion of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket Core Stage Pathfinder vehicle in Cordova. The complex's groundbreaking will be Tuesday, August 29 at 10 a.m. on 60 Booster Boulevard in Decatur, near the United Launch Alliance facility. The NASA SLS Core Stage Pathfinder vehicle completion event will be Thursday, August 31 at 10 a.m. at G&G Steel on 6275 Horse Creek Boulevard in Cordova.
Building Large Aerospace Structures
The new complex will bring a capability to North Alabama to support the development and testing of large aerospace structures. The complex will have three buildings under development - Test Stand 1, Test Control Center and the Hardware Integration Facility. Dynetics will use the facility to build the NASA SLS Universal Stage Adapter and perform structural testing for the Department of Defense, NASA and commercial customers.
"Developing and testing these large structures are significant for Dynetics and the future of space exploration. This facility will add another capability to Alabama's aerospace industry," said David King, Dynetics chief executive officer.
Alabama's elected officials see the new facility as an opportunity for the state.
Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) said, "I am extremely grateful for the continued investment of Dynetics in North Alabama. The facility, scheduled to be completed in 2018, increases Alabama's footprint in the defense and aerospace sector and is a testament to the highly-skilled workforce in our great state. We are fortunate to have some of the most dedicated engineers, scientists, and technology professionals in the nation, and I commend this exciting expansion."
"Dynetics is taking the lead in shaping the final frontier. This facility will bring new jobs and new innovations, but it will also be a key piece in America reasserting itself as the world's leader in space exploration," said Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04).
"North Alabama continues to lead in the research and development of aerospace technology and propulsion efforts," said Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL). "The new Dynetics integration and test facility will be a national asset and will build on Alabama's great legacy in this innovative and important work."
Dynetics selected the north Alabama site because of the area's storied history of rocket development and testing and its convenient location on the Tennessee River - enabling ease of transportation. This testing complex will be an addition to the other Dynetics facilities that are supporting the development of launch systems in the Huntsville area, including NASA's Space Launch System.
The Decatur Industrial Development Board, Morgan County, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the State of Alabama all provided incentives to the project.
Completing Space Hardware
Dynetics played an integral role in the completion of NASA's SLS Core Stage Pathfinder, a critical piece of hardware for reducing the risk of first-time operations with the rocket's 212-foot-tall core stage. NASA awarded Radiance Technologies the pathfinder vehicle delivery order under the Engineering Solutions and Prototyping contract with Dynetics as the technical lead. G&G Steel was added to perform the final welding and major assembly operations in their commercial facility on the Black Warrior River.
"We have worked with some of the brightest Alabama companies to complete the SLS core stage pathfinder. The team brought together valuable engineering and technical skills, for which North Alabama is known. The pathfinder vehicle is an excellent way for us to put those skills to use while supporting America's space program," said Kim Doering, Dynetics Space Division manager.
The pathfinder vehicle will be used to demonstrate core stage operations and transportation, including routes for testing, assembly and launch. The vehicle, constructed from steel replicates key core stage characteristics - 212 feet long with a 27.6-foot diameter, and weighs 230,000 pounds.
The companies began construction in early 2016. NASA will accept the hardware after it is delivered by barge from Cordova to the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans, Louisiana. NASA will use the pathfinder to demonstrate core stage handling and transportation at Michoud, NASA's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi and Kennedy Space Center in Florida.