Constellium Supports Lockheed Martin With High-Performance Alloys For Orion Spacecraft

An artist's concept image of the Orion capsule. Image Source: Lockheed Martin

An artist’s concept image of the Orion capsule. Image Source: Lockheed Martin

May 20, 2015 – Constellium N.V. AIRWARE technology was aboard Orion’s successful first flight test, Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1). Built by Lockheed Martin, NASA’s Orion spacecraft is designed for human exploration of deep space.

In 2010, after a two-year materials study by Lockheed Martin – AIRWARE 2195 and 2050 low density alloys manufactured at Constellium’s facilities in Ravenswood, West Virginia, USA and Montreuil-Juigne and Issoire, France, – were chosen as key structural materials of the Orion spacecraft based on their proven reliability and safety in space in the study.

The alloys’ inherent low density, high-specific stiffness, strength and excellent mechanical properties ensure material high-performance characteristics during demanding launch and landing phases, and at the same time, a lower density to facilitate the ascent to outer space, contributing to a successful EFT-1.

Constellium’s specific aerospace Al 2219-T87, in combination with AIRWARE 2050, will also be used for the main primary structure of Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1), the second planned uncrewed test flight of the Orion spacecraft.

“The success of this first flight test acknowledges Constellium leading technology in aerospace with AIRWARE. Constellium will keep working to support Lockheed Martin in each step on the journey to Mars,” said Laurent Musy, President of Constellium’s Aerospace and Transportation business unit.

Orion EFT-1 was launched on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket on December 5, 2014. The flight was the first new U.S.-built human rated space launch system since 1981, and was launched to test various Orion systems, including separation events, avionics, heat shielding, parachutes and recovery operations.

Colorado-based Lockheed Martin Space Systems leads the Orion industry team as the prime contractor building the Orion spacecraft. Orion will carry astronauts on deep-space missions beyond the moon, to asteroids, and eventually Mars.

NASA envisions multiple Orion capsules, and Lockheed Martin has already started building the next one. For future missions, Orion will launch on NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket, currently being developed at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. A 70 metric-ton (77 ton) SLS will send Orion to a distant retrograde orbit around the moon on Exploration Mission-1 in the first test of the fully integrated Orion and SLS system.