The staff of GIE Media’s Manufacturing Group sends wishes for good health, happiness, and success in the coming year and always. Happy New Year!
Boeing has delivered the final Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft with modernized avionics and a digital cockpit to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Manching, Germany. This delivery is the final of 14 and ensures NATO AWACS compliance with current and future air traffic control and navigation requirements.
Upgrades include five full-color digital displays in each aircraft, replacing 1970s-era dials, and provides crew members with customizable engine, navigation, and radar data. These digital capabilities also allow NATO to consolidate crew responsibilities.
“The Communication Navigation Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) modernization project enables the NATO E-3A fleet to meet current and foreseen European air traffic management requirements,” said Brig. Gen. Mike Hain, general manager, NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Program Management Agency.
The first modernized NATO AWACS plane was modified at Boeing facilities in Seattle, Washington, and delivered to NATO in November 2016. The remaining 13 aircraft underwent modernization work in Manching, Germany.
NATO’s AWACS fleet is the alliance’s first integrated, multinational flying unit, providing rapid deployment, airborne surveillance, and command and control for NATO operations.
Sierra Nevada Corp.’s (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft passed a key milestone for NASA’S Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract, validating design performance and clearing the way for full spacecraft production. The milestone marks completion of Integration Review 4 (IR4) demonstrating NASA’s confidence in the safety and maturity of Dream Chaser’s design.
"NASA's acknowledgement that SNC has completed this critical milestone and its approval of full production of the first Dream Chaser spacecraft is a major indication we are on the right path toward increasing vital science return for the industry," said John Curry, program director for CRS-2 under SNC’s Space Systems business area.
Many critical parts of the orbital vehicle are already complete, built, and being tested, including major structural components, thermal protection system tiles, and avionics hardware. With the success of IR4, these components are now being integrated into the orbital vehicle assembly at SNC’s Space Systems facilities in Louisville, Colorado.
Subject matter experts from NASA and SNC thoroughly reviewed the Dream Chaser spacecraft design and its integrated performance with launch, ground, and flight elements. Based on system capabilities, design maturity, and the extensive data products presented, SNC and NASA jointly concluded the Dream Chaser program was ready to move to full-scale spacecraft manufacturing and testing.
SNC’s Dream Chaser spacecraft is slated to service the International Space Station as early as late 2020. Production includes both the uncrewed Dream Chaser winged vehicle and the cargo module, which remains attached to the winged vehicle during orbital operations.
“We are one step closer to the Dream Chaser spacecraft’s first orbital flight. This comprehensive review approved moving the Dream Chaser program into the production phase, so we can get Dream Chaser to market as a critical space station resupply spacecraft as soon as possible,” said Fatih Ozmen, co-owner and CEO of SNC. “IR4 was a series of reviews, documentation, and data deliverables that are the culmination of many years of design work, analysis, and development testing.”
The Dream Chaser will perform at least six missions to provide cargo resupply, disposal, and return services to the International Space Station under NASA’s CRS-2 contract. The spacecraft delivers up to 5,500kg (12,100 lb) of pressurized and unpressurized cargo and returns more than 1,850 kg (~4,000lbs) of cargo with a gentle runway landing. The spacecraft also provides approximately 3,400kg (7,400 lb) of disposal capability each mission via the cargo module, which burns up in the atmosphere after separation from the Dream Chaser winged vehicle.
NASA selected the Dream Chaser Cargo System to provide cargo delivery and disposal services to the space station under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract. All Dream Chaser CRS-2 cargo missions are planned to land at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility.
Cleveland, Ohio - Happy holidays from everyone at GIE Media. As we take time to observe the holiday season and spend time with our family and friends, we hope you are able to do the same.
To learn more about different holiday celebrations and traditions around the world, click here.
Solar Manufacturing has completed installation and startup of a 100-ton force vacuum hot press that includes a 2bar gas fan quench cooling system (GFQVHP) for Refrac Systems’ commercial and aerospace diffusion bonding operation in Chandler, Arizona.
Working with Solar’s engineering team, Refrac Systems selected a derivative of the Solar Manufacturing standard HLF-5748-2IQ internally quenched 2bar vacuum furnace as the base design. The furnace hot zone was modified to contain a 100-ton load hydraulic ram centered over the zone which is configured to diffusion bond parts up to 36" wide x 48" long x 30" tall. Designed to diffusion bond large plastic injection molding dies, and concurrently quench hardening them, the system is also finding applications in bonding advanced superalloy heat exchangers where the quench cooling offers improved performance.
Norm Hubele, president of Refrac Systems, says, “We really drew on the extensive engineering experience base that Solar Manufacturing has for building large gas fan quench cooled vacuum furnaces coupled with our own vacuum hot pressing experience to build this very unique hot press system.” Along the course of system design and development, a number of new and complex engineering solutions were needed in order to reduce the operational and ownership risks for the new type of furnace system. “Solar’s engineering team really helped out with a lot of great design ideas and manufacturing experience, and the system really contains the most robust and reliable furnace engineering content that both companies could muster.”
William Jones, CEO of the Solar Atmospheres family of companies, notes, “Norm put together a team of engineers to design and build this state-of-the-art GFQVHP, and it contains many innovations. Throughout the entire process, Norm personally reviewed all aspects of the design and added considerable insight to the development of this unique vacuum furnace system.”
Solar Manufacturing designs and manufactures a wide variety of vacuum heat treating, sintering and brazing furnaces and offers replacement hot zones, spare parts, and professional service.