Elmet supplies tungsten Powder Metallurgy parts for moon-bound spacecraft

November 2, 2022

Elmet has supplied parts for the Orion capsule heatshield which is expected to launch in the coming months (Courtesy Elmet Technologies)
Elmet has supplied parts for the Orion capsule heatshield which is expected to launch in the coming months (Courtesy Elmet Technologies)

Elmet Technologies Inc, Lewiston, Maine, USA, reports it has recently supplied tungsten Powder Metallurgy parts for use in the Space Launch System (SLS) Rocket programme in the Orion Space Capsule. The SLS is said to be the most powerful rocket built thus far, with its first mission being to power Artemis I to the moon and back expected to be launched in the coming months.

Specific to the Artemis programme, Elmet manufactured aerospace-grade tungsten heavy alloy ballast weights (seven different parts, weighing from 3.2 – 15 kg) used for the heatshield in the Orion capsule. The tungsten metal powder parts were pressed, sintered and machined onsite in Lewiston, with all lab testing for powder and final part mechanical properties performed by Elmet’s A3LA-accredited lab. Each component was ultrasonically tested for internal quality.

Tungsten ballast weights produced for the Space Launch System (Courtesy Elmet Technologies)
Tungsten ballast weights produced for the Space Launch System (Courtesy Elmet Technologies)

“The team at Elmet is proud of their accomplishments, meeting the requirements of the customer, and rising to the challenge for such a unique project,” the company posted. “We are also honoured to have participated in the SLS project, and we look forward to providing ongoing support for tungsten manufacturing and testing needs for the aerospace market. As we look forward to the SLS launch, we take pride in knowing Elmet Technologies ballast weights are in the Orion capsule. Our team is excited to follow the Artemis launch news, with an expected launch date of mid-November.”

Aerospace tungsten-molybdenum parts (Courtesy Elmet Technologies)
Aerospace tungsten-molybdenum parts (Courtesy Elmet Technologies)

Other programmes involving Elmet Technologies components include Dragonfly. This programme is set to launch in 2026 and land on Jupiter’s moon Titan in 2034, with molybdenum parts provided by Elmet expected to play a key role.

The company concluded, “Elmet Technologies is proud of its team in supporting some of the aerospace industry’s most extraordinary programs to date. Through strict quality control procedures, our team ensured that all products meet the most stringent of specifications. The delivery of parts to this program is a significant achievement and demonstrates Elmet’s expertise in manufacturing tungsten heavy alloy products with mission-critical precision and accuracy.”


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