GKN Aerospace is a US-based additive manufacturer center of excellence that has signed a contract to supply Ariane 6 turbines as well as Vulcain nozzles to ArianeGroup, which is a French aerospace company.
The contract covers the supply and production of units for 14 Ariane 6 launchers. These will be made from now to 2025. GKN Aerospace, which has been manufacturing Ariane rocket engines for over 500 years, has now produced more than 1,000 combustion chambers.
“Signing this contract is an important step ahead, not only for GKN Aerospace and the launcher activities in Sweden but for the entire Ariane 6 program,” said Martin Velander, GKN Aerospace Launcher Engines Program Director. “It reinforces that Swedish participation is key to the future of the launcher and for the future of European space exploration.”
“Following the signature of the exploitation contracts with Sabca, Airbus Spain, Europropulsion, Avio, and MTAerospace, this contract with GKN Aerospace is a new and key step towards a strong Ariane 6 European team,” added Stephane Nogatchewsky, Head of Procurement of ArianeGroup.
What is more the Ariane 6 Program has to offer?
GKN Aerospace is currently focused on industrializing and incorporating novel technology into its Ariane 6 products at its Trollhättan site in Sweden. This includes the nozzle channel wall that will include completely new technologies in flight applications. The design has been constantly enhanced over time, and it will be further progressed in GKN Aerospace’s center of excellence during the transition batch process. This is crucial to ensure that the launcher can produce more power in the next phase.
GKN Aerospace’s space business unit in Trollhättan has been involved in the Ariane program since its founding in 1974, contributing to it at all stages, from initial research and development to serial production.
The Ariane 6 program is Europe’s only investment that provides autonomous access to space for strategic missions. It also allows for the transfer of both heavy and lightweight payloads into various orbits. This is for applications such Earth observation and telecommunications.
“While the inaugural flight of Ariane 6 is getting closer and the industrial ramp-up is intensifying, this collaboration is a positive and critical milestone for the future of Ariane 6 operations. Also, unifying European actors is paramount to ensure further A6 industrial robustness, and competitiveness and preserve European autonomous access to space,” said the Head of Procurement of ArianeGroup.
Space industry: Advanced aerospace and additive manufacturing
Sumitomo Corporation of Americas (the largest subsidiary of Sumitomo Corporation) increased its investment into Sintavia. Sintavia provides additive manufacturing services that specialize in high-performance aero components. The duo jointly revealed that the agreement, which is a follow-on from Sumitomo’s initial investment back in 2018, was ultimately employed to ramp up Sintavia’s “rapidly growing business” that focuses on high-profile aerospace companies.
Redwire, an expert in mission-critical systems, also demonstrated the functions of HALOE’s Hybrid Architecture Laboratory Operational Environment. This was done to enhance US national defense. The simulation demonstrated HALOE’s capability to enable rapid and configurable digitally engineered space mission design, which could be employed for advanced mission planning to support Joint All-Domain Operations (JADO). The demonstration is based on a contract awarded to the United States Air Force Research Laboratory in October 2020. It demonstrates how digital engineering environments can be used to advance the space sectors.
Redwire recently announced plans to launch a new, upgraded version of its 3D printer to the NASA International Space Station. Redwire will launch an upgraded version of the BioFabrication Facility in collaboration the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Center for Biotechnology (BFF). Once there, the system’s human cell deposition functionalities will be used to examine the effectiveness of 3D bioprinting in treating the meniscal injuries common among US military personnel.
“The ISS provides a critical testing platform to advance these cutting-edge technologies that are enabling critical investigations from commercial users and the scientific research community that will one day extend to future commercial space stations,” said John Vellinger, Redwire Executive Vice President of In-Space Manufacturing and Operations.
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Feature image shows GKN’s Atmospheric Research Aircraft in-flight. GKN Aerospace.