Technicians at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility have achieved a significant milestone in the production of the advanced upper stage for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. Recently completing a major portion of a weld confidence article, the hardware, constituting the liquid oxygen tank for the SLS rocket’s exploration upper stage, was repositioned within the facility. This accomplishment marks the fifth out of seven weld confidence articles engineered for the evolved SLS Block 1B configuration. As the SLS evolves, this configuration will empower the rocket to launch 40% more payload to the Moon, starting with the Artemis IV mission.
Worth noting is the integral role of Futuramic’s LOX Tank Assembly Center (LTAC) tool in this process. This tool plays a crucial role in verifying welding procedures, tooling and hardware interfaces, and structural weld integrity. The completed hardware underwent testing and analysis by NASA and Boeing engineers to confirm welding parameters. The collaborative efforts of NASA and Boeing extend to producing structural test articles and flight hardware structures for the upper stage at both NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the Michoud Assembly Facility.
“Technicians at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans have completed a major portion of a weld confidence article for the advanced upper stage of NASA’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket. The hardware was rotated to a horizontal position and moved to another part of the facility Oct. 24.
The weld confidence article forms part of the liquid oxygen tank for the SLS rocket’s exploration upper stage and is the fifth of seven weld confidence articles engineers are manufacturing for the evolved SLS Block 1B configuration of the SLS rocket. Beginning with Artemis IV, SLS will evolve to its more powerful Block 1B configuration with the advanced upper stage that gives the rocket the capability to launch 40% more to the Moon along with Artemis astronauts inside NASA’s Orion spacecraft.
Teams use weld confidence articles to verify welding procedures, interfaces between the tooling and hardware, and structural integrity of the welds. The dome of the liquid oxygen tank weld confidence article was first welded to its structural ring at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, using friction stir welding tooling. The hardware was transported to Michoud, where Michoud crews in the Liquid Oxygen Tank Assembly Center (LTAC) finished welding the hardware. Marshall and Michoud engineers simultaneously conducted testing and analysis on the hardware to validate welding parameters.
In tandem, NASA and Boeing, the SLS lead contractor for the core stage and exploration upper stage, are producing structural test articles and flight hardware structures for the upper stage at Marshall and Michoud.” – via NASA
Watch Technicians Manufacture a Portion of a Future Upper Stage for NASA Rocket