Dynetics (2)

The Dynetics and Aerojet Rocketdyne (NYSE:AJRD) team recently performed with its NASA partner, the second successful gas generator test series of the F-1 engine as part of the Space Launch System (SLS) Advanced Booster Engineering Demonstration and/or Risk Reduction (ABEDRR) contract. This test series was unique, however, in that a key component of the gas generator was built using additive manufacturing – or 3-D printing – techniques. At 30,000 pounds, the component is among the highest thrust levels ever demonstrated for a 3-D printed part.

NASA awarded the ABEDRR contract in the fall of 2012 to reduce risks for advanced boosters that could help meet SLS's future capability needs. The team has performed a wide-ranging set of full-scale, system-level demonstrations on key advanced booster systems. Dynetics, the prime contractor, designed and fabricated a full-scale cryogenic tank that it tested last month to verify the structural design.

Aerojet Rocketdyne has applied state-of-the-art manufacturing methods to the Apollo-era F-1 rocket engine to demonstrate that a proven design can be built at a competitive cost. Among the new fabrication methods used was Selective Laser Melting (SLM), an additive manufacturing technique that has shown the potential for dramatically reducing cost and schedule for building rocket engine parts. SLM was used to build an F-1-based gas generator injector on the ABEDRR program.

In 2013, an F-1 gas generator made with 1960s-era parts was tested at new conditions to verify its applicability to the NASA SLS requirements. Testing the 3-D printed gas generator provided an opportunity for a one-to-one comparison of a part built with traditional manufacturing to a part built with the SLM process. The two test series were highly successful and the results were nearly identical, giving confidence in the new, lower-cost manufacturing methods.

The F-1 engine gas generator testing, as well as other recent tests with 3-D printed parts, is helping NASA and the aerospace industry gather data on these new manufacturing processes.

Dynetics CEO David King said, "The successful testing of this technology lays the groundwork for future rocket engine development – both for NASA and for others who want the most affordable space solutions."

"Testing of this hardware is just one more step Aerojet Rocketdyne is taking to develop affordable approaches to building complex, advanced rocket engine hardware supporting our current and future engine programs," said Brian Lariviere, F-1B engine program manager at Aerojet Rocketdyne. "The F-1 gas generator fabrication using the SLM process demonstrated part reduction costs by 50 percent and decreased delivery schedules from months to weeks."

Andy Crocker, ABEDRR program manager at Dynetics, said, "This test series is further proof that our team has been able to take successful designs from the past and apply the latest manufacturing methods to create the best of both worlds – a low-cost, proven engine component."

Crocker also said, "I want to compliment the test team from NASA Marshall and Aerojet Rocketdyne on this effort. They were prepared and efficient. They built on previous work in this area to quickly and effectively bring the tests to fruition."

Thursday, 26 April 2012 09:15

Dynetics Opens New Solutions Complex

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The new Dynetics Solutions Complex will expand capabilities in research and development and production for aerospace, cyber and defense products in Huntsville. It is a high-tech prototyping facility, incorporating the latest resources available to produce quality products rapidly and affordably for both commercial and government customers. The opening of the new facility is intended to add 250 to 300 additional jobs over the next three years.

The Solutions Complex, conveniently located on the company’s campus in Cummings Research Park, is 226,500 square feet, expanding Dynetics’ hardware prototyping capabilities in Huntsville to more than 300,000 square feet. It is designed to accommodate commercial and government programs and to provide flexibility for specific customer requirements.

Dr. Marc Bendickson, Dynetics CEO, said, “The name of this facility, ‘The Solutions Complex,’ is intended to convey to our customers our goal to provide a solution here locally to their expanding set of requirements.”

The new facility will provide space for the company’s hardware integration programs; small-quantity specialty item production; large-scale Targets programs; space systems work (including satellite integration); and specialized systems, subsystems and tools development. It will enable consolidation of electronics fabrication and assembly, as well as mechanical test equipment including a thermal vacuum chamber and a shaker table.

The complex will offer the ability to locate government and industry engineers together for collaborative research and manufacturing.

Tom Baumbach, president, said, “Examples of successful projects that have involved collaboration between government and industry engineers include FASTSAT (the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology SATellite) and lunar lander testbeds, as well as several classified Army missile programs.”

Dynetics employees working on the mating and integration system for Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch air launch system will be located in The Solutions Complex, and more employees will be added to accommodate future projects.

David King, Dynetics executive vice president, said, “Last week, we announced two contracts for which we are competing, the Engineered Prototyping Solutions (ESP) contract with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and the NASA Space Launch System (SLS) Advanced Booster Engineering Demonstration and/or Risk Reduction (ABEDRR) procurement. Should we be selected for these procurements, much of the work will be performed in this facility.”

Dynetics is also bidding on the Test Execution Services and Launch Augmentation (TESTLA) procurement for the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, which will require the capabilities available in the new facility.

The Open House and Ribbon Cutting for The Solutions Complex was held today on the 23rd anniversary of Dynetics’ becoming an employee-owned company under ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan).

For more information, visit: www.dynetics.com

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