Spincraft Completes Last Dome for Delta IV

97: First Delta IV Rocket Fuel Tank Dome Delivered
2021: Final Delta IV Rocket Fuel Tank Dome and the Spincraft Team
2021: Final Delta IV Dome and the Spincraft Team

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.

 

97: First Delta IV Rocket Fuel Tank Dome Delivered
1997: First Delta IV Dome Delivered

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. 

Blue Origin: Proud Supplier 

Team Spincraft holding the Blue Origin Proud Supplier Flag

On September 15th, employees of Blue Origin made a site visit to Spincraft’s Massachusetts facility to recognize the team’s successful contributions to New Shepard and the program’s first human flight.

During their visit, Blue Origin shared video footage from their historic July 20 launch — a milestone moment for the future of spaceflight, the Blue Origin team and their first astronaut crew. The first private citizen passenger crew onboard consisted of Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen.

Additional milestones include:

  • Jeff and Mark Bezos: the first siblings to go to space together.
  • Wally Funk: the oldest person to fly in space (age 82).
  • Oliver Daemen: the youngest person to travel to space (age 18) and the first person to purchase a ticket to space commercially.
  • New Shepard: the first commercial vehicle to fly paying customers to and from space.

The Blue Origin team expressed their gratitude for the fuel tank domes that Spincraft provided to make New Shepard’s mission triumphant. Providing these precisely manufactured parts helped ensure confidence among the first human flight travelers as they set foot onboard the rocket to make history. Blue Origin presented Spincraft with a banner to proudly convey our status as a Blue Origin supplier.

Spincraft and Standex Engineering Technologies Group are honored to have collaborated on and delivered yet another successful space systems solution to our customer, and to have been a key manufacturing partner to crewed space flight for more than three decades.

Team Spincraft holding the Blue Origin Proud Supplier Flag