October marked a momentous occasion for Standex Engineering Technologies Group (Standex ETG) as our Spincraft Massachusetts facility spun its final fuel tank dome in support of United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Delta IV rocket program after almost 25 years of close partnership.
For more than 20 years, our Spincraft MA facility has supplied continuous production on domes for ULA’s Delta IV rockets. Before becoming a part of ULA’s product line in 2006, the Delta IV rocket was designed for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program by Boeing’s Defense, Space and Security division. Delta IV has served a vital role in providing lift capabilities for high priority U.S. Space Force, National Reconnaissance Office and NASA payloads.
Spincraft’s capabilities significantly benefited the Delta IV program by increasing performance while reducing the part count and complexity of the overall vehicle. Previously, the technology initially utilized for making these domes was gore panels. Spincraft’s spinning technology and process expertise allowed Boeing to produce a 5-meter dome out of a single piece of aluminum, eliminating the need for welds, reducing many hours of costly assembly time and reducing the overall weight of the part.
Spincraft successfully delivered the first Delta IV dome to Boeing in 1997. The first launch occurred in November of 2002. Since then, our team has continued to support ULA’s mission by supplying a total of 415 domes. These domes were an integral part of 41 Delta IV launches to date, including vital military, communications and weather satellites; the Orion Exploration Flight Test; and Parker Space Probe. The last Delta IV flight is scheduled to launch in 2024.
As Delta IV production phases out, Spincraft has already pivoted to supporting early production volumes of Vulcan Centaur, ULA’s next-generation launch vehicle designed for higher performance and greater affordability slated for inaugural flight in 2022.
Over the last quarter-century, Spincraft has grown to become one of the most critical solutions suppliers to the space launch vehicle and space exploration markets. Our leading-edge forming processes and capabilities have made us a globally trusted partner for leading public and private companies, providing unsurpassed service and performance.