Proven to Perform at Mach 32 and Beyond

ATI will be a critical part of NASA’s Artemis I mission when it’s “all systems go” at launchpad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. As the initial mission in a complex series of deep space exploration initiatives, Artemis I serves as the testing ground for proper execution of a safe flight crew expedition to the Moon with an established splashdown and recovery plan.

Prepare for Liftoff 
NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems have been hard at work at the Kennedy Space Center to develop Artemis I’s two parts: The Space Launch System Rocket (SLS) and Orion Spacecraft. NASA specifically chose ATI to contribute to the Artemis Mission because of our advanced technologies and materials science expertise, according to Brian Edwards, Senior Director of Sales & Marketing for ATI Forged Products. 

Working through sub-tier suppliers Northrop Grumman, Aerojet Rocketdyne and Lockheed Martin, ATI’s end-to-end capabilities yielded high-temperature components for Artemis I’s four RS-25 engines.

ATI’s specialty materials make up the following components:
  • Forward Dome
  • Five Clevis Rings
  • Four Tang Rings that line the booster’s body shaft
  • Aft & Attached SRB Cylinders
  • RS25 Engine critical high temperature forgings
  • Powerhead on RS-25
  • Orion Spacecraft: Aluminum Barrel and Tunnel Rings
  • LVS & Upper Stage: Large Aluminum Rings 

To develop aluminum and steel rings for Artemis I, ATI tapped the expertise of our highly experienced Forged Products engineers and operators. Their deep materials science knowledge, combined with ATI’s extraordinary capabilities, enabled high strength precision at high temperature – crucial for the application.

The rings strengthen the rocket booster to withstand extreme temperatures generated by the SLS Rocket’s 8.8 million pounds of thrust upon liftoff.

The BOLE Booster Package supplies critical forged products for the SLS booster to increase efficiency and safety from the moment it leaves the launchpad. 

ATI Forged Products in Cudahy, Wisconsin played a major role in Artemis I’s completion, with a steel dome designed and shipped from the facility by a team of operators and engineers. 

In a partnership with Aerojet Rocketdyne and NASA, our Washington, PA team introduced a new-to-ATI nickel-based alloy plate material into its production to support the urgent needs for the program. The alloy supports the Powerhead which delivers, mixes, and ignites the liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen fuels feeding the combustion chamber that propels the rocket. 

This newer member to ATI’s alloy family showcases how we work to solve the world’s toughest challenges through materials science. Aerojet Rocketdyne commended our ability to preserve quality while on a deadline as we manufactured the material for the downstream tube and formed component manufacture.

“A mission as demanding as this one brings technical and operational challenges,” said Edwards. “Thanks to the tenacity and innovation of a fantastic team of people, we were able to overcome those hurdles and deliver the components needed.”

Start the Countdown

The SLS will propel the uncrewed Orion spacecraft 280,000 miles from the Earth to round the Moon. The mission’s outcome will foreshadow how a crew strategizes researching unexplored areas of the final frontier, while the discoveries found on Artemis I and subsequent missions will be utilized for planning missions to Mars.

“SLS is designed uniquely to deliver crew and cargo to the point of trans-lunar injection in one shot,” said Artemis I Mission Manager Mike Serafin during a NASA news conference on August 3, 2022. 

 Multiple in-flight tests will be performed to determine if trans-lunar injection, a maneuver that sets a spacecraft’s course to the Moon, is safely possible, Serafin explained. The SLS’s propulsion system has the most thrust capability of any active space launch system produced in the United States. 

ATI’s reputation for producing materials Proven to Perform with an efficient delivery as well as our trusted partnerships with NASA and sub-tier suppliers made us a natural choice for Artemis I. 

“We’ve got exceptional people all the way from the shop floor and the employees that are actually out there running the equipment, making the parts up through our engineering team that designs the process and determines how best to produce the part,” said Edwards. 

With the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon as its namesake, Artemis I forges the path for American astronauts to lead an expedition of the Moon’s South Pole. 

Artemis I successfully launched on November 16, 2022 - with a 25 day, 10 hour, 53 minute mission. The successful first in a series of increasingly complex missions to enable human exploration at the Moon and future missions to Mars, the next generation will continue to watch as NASA and ATI further space exploration one mission at a time.
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