Welding work commences on new NASA spacecraft

13 September 2011


Posted by Michelle Devonshire

Construction has started on a new spacecraft from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), including welding activity.

According to the organization, the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle is being built by specialist engineers at its New Orleans Michoud Assembly Facility.

The first weld has taken place on the craft, which will be launched into space and marks the first to be created for human orbit since the completion of the space shuttle Endeavour in 1991.

Mark Geyer, Orion Program Manager, stated: "The Orion team has maintained a steady focus on progress and we now are beginning to build hardware for spaceflight."

A process called friction stir welding is being used to create seamless joints that are stronger and more durable than those offered by traditional techniques, providing "optimal structural integrity" that can survive the conditions in space.

Engineers have also carried out a first series of acoustic tests on Orion, using hundreds of instruments, accelerometers and microphones to test critical components.

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