3D-Printed Unit Demonstrates One of Longest Duration Propulsion Wind
Tunnel Tests on Record
DULLES, Va.Jan. 18, 2016--
Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense
technologies, announced today that it has successfully tested a
3D-printed hypersonic engine combustor at NASA Langley Research Center.
The combustor, produced through an additive manufacturing process known
as powder bed fusion (PBF), was subjected to a variety of
high-temperature hypersonic flight conditions over the course of 20
days, including one of the longest duration propulsion wind tunnel tests
ever recorded for a unit of this kind. Analysis confirms the unit met or
exceeded all of the test requirements.
One of the most challenging parts of the propulsion system, a scramjet
combustor, houses and maintains stable combustion within an extremely
volatile environment. The tests were, in part, to ensure that the
PBF-produced part would be robust enough to meet mission objectives.
Additive manufacturing opens up new possibilities for our designers and
engineers, said Pat Nolan, Vice President and General Manager of
Orbital ATK s Missile Products division of the Defense Systems Group.
This combustor is a great example of a component that was impossible to
build just a few years ago. This successful test will encourage our
engineers to continue to explore new designs and use these innovative
tools to lower costs and decrease manufacturing time.
The test at Langley was an important opportunity to challenge Orbital
ATK s new combustor design, made possible only through the additive
manufacturing process. Complex geometries and assemblies that once
required multiple components can be simplified to a single, more
cost-effective assembly. However, since the components are built one
layer at a time, it is now possible to design features and integrated
components that could not be easily cast or otherwise machined.
PBF is one of several manufacturing methods currently being explored by
Orbital ATK and its technology partners. Final assembly of the test
combustor was completed at the company s facilities in Ronkonkoma, New
York, and Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in Rocket Center, West Virginia.
Orbital ATK s Defense Systems Group is an industry leader in providing
innovative and affordable precision and strike weapons, advanced
propulsion and hypersonics, missile components across air-, sea- and
land-based systems, ammunition and related energetic products.
About Orbital ATK
Orbital ATK is a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies.
The company designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation
systems for customers around the world, both as a prime contractor and
merchant supplier. Its main products include launch vehicles and related
propulsion systems; missile products, subsystems and defense
electronics; precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition;
satellites and associated space components and services; and advanced
aerospace structures. Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Orbital ATK
employs approximately 12,000 people in 18 states across the United
States and in several international locations. For more information,
Source: Orbital ATK
Bryan Kidder, 410-864-4932
Systems Group Communications
Barron Beneski, 703-406-5528
Public and Investor