Dynetics is celebrating its aerospace expansion with two major announcements from Alabama. First is the Dynetics Aerospace Structures Complex groundbreaking in Decatur, Alabama; second is the completion of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket Core Stage Pathfinder vehicle in Cordova. The complex’s groundbreaking took place on Tuesday, August 29, in Decatur, near the United Launch Alliance facility. The NASA SLS Core Stage Pathfinder vehicle completion event was held on Thursday, August 31, in Cordova.
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.
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 212ft-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.
The pathfinder vehicle will be used to demonstrate core stage operations and transportation, including routes for testing, assembly and to the launch site. The vehicle, constructed from steel, replicates key core stage characteristics: 212ft (64.6m) long with a 27.6ft (8.4m) diameter, and weighs 228,000 lb (103,419kg).
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 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.