How Innovative Product Engineering Practices Improves ULA Launch Vehicles

Overview of United Launch Alliance — USA’s Leading Spacecraft Launch Agency

ULA’s Current Launch Vehicle Portfolio

Atlas V

Delta IV Heavy

Vulcan Centaur

Innovative Design and Engineering Practices at ULA

  1. The use of The Out-of-Autoclave (OoA) manufacturing method for the payload design of Atlas V shows the company’s commitment to lowering production costs while ensuring the same level of reliability in its spacecraft. The OoA manufacturing approach has also been applied in its latest launch vehicle Vulcan Centaur.
  2. Another example of ULA’s innovative design practices can be seen in Atlas V 411 vehicle launching Solar Orbiter which is designed to meet the Earth’s departure trajectory. Unlike the usual rocket configuration, the fuel booster is mounted on side of Atlas V, while to ensure balance during launch vehicle flying in the sky, ULA used solid rocket booster’s stationary nozzle.
  3. To boost the lifting capacity of the rocket’s first stage, the company has integrated GEM-63, powerful solid motor propulsion into the Atlas V rocket system. Both these motors are manufactured using state-of-art automation and robotics.
  4. ULA is also working on Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES) and human rating as part of its long-term rocket improvement strategy to support existing national security. With ACES, the company is looking to create a new upper stage for its Centaur and Atlas V rockets. ACES will improve rocket reusability and refueling capabilities. ULA is working on the idea that human rating for its rockets should be based on three primary vectors — launch vehicle reliability, the addition of an emergency detection system (EDS), and intact abort capacity. With such capabilities, the goal of safe, reliable transportation to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) would be possible.

Summing Up!

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