Michigan-based tooling manufacturer Futuramic has delivered a stabilization tool that will help NASA accelerate construction of the Space Launch System rocket that will carry the space agency’s missions to the moon by 2024.
Working under NASA’s Artemis program, Futuramic provided Boeing, the lead contractor developing the SLS rocket, with a tool that supports the largest component of the launch vehicle’s core stage, the space agency said Thursday.
The tool ensures the stability of a 130-foot-long liquid hydrogen tank to allow horizontal integration on the SLS core stage at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.
“Boeing worked with Futuramic to design this tool quickly, so we could speed up production by horizontally joining the liquid hydrogen tank to the forward part of the rocket,” said Craig Williams, director of Boeing's SLS core stage independent product team.
Futuramic previously helped build the domes capping the liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen tanks of the SLS as well as the flight hardware for the intertank connected to the rocket boosters.
The company also developed simulators that could show how the launch vehicle’s hardware would survive during spaceflight.
NASA currently works with more than 78 companies based in Michigan and 3.2k businesses across 50 states under its Artemis program.
“Futuramic and 15 other Michigan companies are helping us build this Moon rocket,” said Ken Dunn, NASA core stage propulsion components manager.