How did faulty Aluminum led to $700 million satellite failure for NASA?

Business

  • Author Bob Davis
  • Published July 9, 2022
  • Word count 589

How did faulty Aluminum led to $700 million satellite failure for NASA?

Aluminum is the most common metal for flight, and aluminum alloys are widely used in commercial aircraft and military transport planes. Aluminum is also utilized by NASA spacecraft, space shuttles, and the International Space Station to allow space travel.

To shield their spacecraft, space telescopes, and rockets from the vacuum of space, NASA employs a few layers of gold, titanium, nickel, and aluminum.

What kind of aluminum does NASA employ?

The Ares rocket program, which began in 2011, is where the NASA-427 alloy got its start. It has considerable potential for use in a variety of automobile applications, such as cast iron wheels, control arms, steering knuckles, and other components.

What is powdered aluminum used for on the current United States space shuttle? The fuel and oxidizer in the SLS boosters are aluminum powder and ammonium perchlorate, a mineral salt. The twin SLS solid rocket boosters are fueled by a strong aluminum-ammonium perchlorate reaction.

Why is aluminum in rocket fuel? Because aluminum has a greater affinity for oxygen than most elements, it is most visible in aluminothermic reactions such as thermite. This enables aluminum to burn with a significant amount of heat, which is surprising in substances that one would typically consider inert, such as carbon dioxide and water.

Nonetheless, what metal is utilized in rocket engines?

Metallic alloys are used in today's liquid rocket engines. Because of their high strength and excellent toughness across a wide range of temperatures from -252°C to 1100°C, superalloys based on nickel, cobalt, and iron–nickel systems are widely used.

Are aluminum rockets possible?

A rocket must be as light as possible while still enduring the tremendous forces generated during launch. The main frame of most rockets is made of aerospace-grade aluminum or titanium, both of which are extremely strong yet lightweight.

How did a metal manufacturer's faulty materials contribute to the failure of two NASA satellite launch missions, resulting in a loss of more than $700 million for the US space agency?

The satellite's fairing, which covers it as it journeys through the air, did not separate on command.

Hydro Extrusion Portland Inc. (SPI), now known as Sapa Profiles Inc., was a 19-year con that included fabricating thousands of critical test documents, resulting in the failure of NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory and Glory missions in 2009 and 2011, respectively.

The Department of Justice has announced that an Oregon aluminum company has been defrauding NASA for almost twenty years, resulting in failed missions.

The NASA Launch Services Program's multi-year study revealed that the problems were caused by faulty aluminum. The failure of the rocket "fairings," which cover the mission satellites on board the Taurus XL rocket, was attributed to SPI's lack of metal.

Employees at the firm frequently altered inconvenient statistics and violated testing standards and criteria, fabricating the speeds of equipment used in the test and employing incorrect sample sizes.

The payload fairing rail "frangible joints" of Orbital Sciences Corporation, the rocket builder, was based on incorrect information about aluminum extrusions.

A frangible joint is a structural separation technique that begins with ordnance.

They then falsified hundreds of client test results in order to boost company profits and earn production-based bonuses.

The settlement includes all criminal and civil charges against Sapa Profiles Inc. In exchange, the company has agreed to pay damages. Dennis Balius, the test lab supervisor, was sentenced to three years in jail for his part in the scam. Since 2015, the firm has been banned from doing business with the US government.

Source: AAluminum.com

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