RAVENSWOOD — Employees at the Constellium plant in Ravenswood are producing a metal product that will be supplied to NASA for its space launch and spacecraft projects.
Constellium SE, a supplier on NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft, critical pieces of NASA’s return to the Moon and journey to deep space, met recently with Members of Congress and Congressional staff, including Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Senator Joe Manchin, Representative Carol Miller, and Representative David McKinley from West Virginia, to advocate on behalf of suppliers nationwide.
More than 18,000 jobs across all 50 states are involved in launching the first woman and next man to the Moon, and Constellium highlighted their contributions along with about 130 Space Launch System, Exploration Ground Systems and Orion supplier companies from across 35 states at the ninth annual suppliers’ conference, held virtually this year.
Constellium contributes to NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, for missions that will ultimately send humans farther into deep space than ever before. Both programs use Constellium’s most innovative aluminum-lithium alloy solutions, Airware®, manufactured in Ravenswood. At this facility, Constellium has the unique capability to produce very wide and thick plates for space modules. Airware’s inherent low density, high-specific stiffness, strength and excellent mechanical properties provide the high-performance characteristics required during the demanding launch and landing phases.
“All of our products here are made to the strictest of specifications for application such as these,” said Constellium CEO Buddy Stemple. “It takes skill and precision to produce products for space applications.”
Under NASA’s Artemis program, the agency will first test the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft as an integrated system ahead of crewed flights, and the journey to the launch pad for Artemis I is well under way. The agency recently performed a test of the rocket’s core stage, and the Orion spacecraft transferred from Lockheed Martin to NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems team at Kennedy Space Center for processing and preparation for launch. In addition, Exploration Ground Systems is nearing the completion of booster stacking, the assembly of the five-segment 177-foot long twin solid rocket boosters, at Kennedy’s massive Vehicle Assembly Building.
Constellium is supporting NASA’s goal of sending humans back to the Moon and then to Mars through its contribution to Artemis’ deep space exploration systems, while advancing American manufacturing, technology and innovation, and helping to inspire the next generation of explorers and engineers.
Stemple said Constellium was also a supplier for space shuttle fuel tanks in the past.
Information provided by Constellium. Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham contributed to this article.