Author Topic: ULA factory tour with Tory Bruno  (Read 4602 times)

Offline Mammutti

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ULA factory tour with Tory Bruno
« on: 02/29/2020 07:33 pm »
Destin from Smarter Every Day went on a tour of United Launch Alliance factory with Tory Bruno. There is a ton of great shots showing manufacturing of Atlas V and Vulcan rockets flight hardware. Tory shows and explains a big part of the process of making a rocket (as much as he is allowed to). It's over an hour long but totaly worth it. The first part is the main factory tour, the second part is more of a Q&A about the launch process, engines, business decisions and competition.




Offline TrevorMonty

Re: ULA factory tour with Tory Bruno
« Reply #1 on: 03/01/2020 08:31 am »
Thanks Destin for excellent video, must watch for NSF member.

Lot good stuff in there, some takes I found interesting.

LVs have a 1.1-1.25 safety margin.

Vulcan booster tank design lighter and cheaper to manufacturer than Atlas thanks to model design tools.
Vulcan Centuar tank welding will be robotic  compared to Atlas more labour intensitive process.
Lot of Vulcan systems and component will have been flown on Atlas. NB lot of these are new to Atlas.


Offline eeergo

Re: ULA factory tour with Tory Bruno
« Reply #2 on: 03/01/2020 12:30 pm »

There's loads and loads of wonderful, extremely interesting stuff shown in that video, and Bruno is really articulate in explaining it. It's jaw-dropping the isogrid structure so widely used in aerospace is just a "good enough" solution brought about by computational limitations in heritage systems in the 80s and 90s, when FEM software was just able to accurately compute loads through triangular polygons. Orthogrid is much more efficient and resistant, but just possible to reliably design with recent methods.


Also excellent to watch the synergy between automated, bulk processes such as the milling or FSW, with craftsmanship like that portrayed during plate section bending, when two people controlling a huge press with hands, feet and eyes are able to deliver precision unrivaled by what machines can do in the foreseeable future.(Extra chuckle when Bruno candidly comments "Yeah, let's go and stop distracting them, we don't wanna have the "Dustin and Tory discrepancy report" on that ;D  )


Definitely must watch, this is an amazing insight into how these things are actually made (unfortunately mostly structural and early integration stuff, but hey it's loads more than available before!)

Offline webdan

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Re: ULA factory tour with Tory Bruno
« Reply #3 on: 03/01/2020 02:41 pm »
Both videos are a must watch.

Noted on second video, starting at about 3:30
« Last Edit: 03/01/2020 02:41 pm by webdan »

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: ULA factory tour with Tory Bruno
« Reply #4 on: 03/01/2020 06:54 pm »
My first factory job had a LOT of machining of different types that they did, and they also had their own plating facility, so I was geeking out on the tour - and yes, being jealous I could not be on it.  ;)

It is public knowledge that the factory was originally built to handle building 40 cores per year, which is why there is so much open space in the factory. But it was neat to see how they handle such big sheets of aluminum as they process through the factory.

Of particular interest are the forms they use for the stainless steel Centaur tanks, and I can't help thinking that SpaceX will eventually end up with similar type forms for Starship manufacturing.

Related to Centaur, Tory Bruno said that they are welding the Centaur stainless steel tanks by hand today, and I imagine likely in the same way they have been done for decades. But that the next generation of Centaur bodies for use on the Vulcan will have automated welding. That will save a lot of time and money.

I was interested though in how they formed the aluminum body pieces, and how he said they did not plan to automate the process that they currently use for bending. And kudos to the workers on that line, because they have a lot of parameters they have to manually account for in bending those huge panels. But that type of operation is ripe for automation, so it was interesting...

Kudos to Destin for not only getting the tour, but for asking informed questions. And kudos too to Tory Bruno for giving the tour and providing full and detailed answers - he knows rocketry and rocket manufacturing.

Well worth watching.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline GWR64

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Re: ULA factory tour with Tory Bruno
« Reply #5 on: 03/01/2020 08:49 pm »
Thanks for the videos!
Tory Bruno is a rocket man, with body and soul. It's fun listening to him.  :)
(he can also speak "politically", but this is the exception)

Offline Maciej Olesinski

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Re: ULA factory tour with Tory Bruno
« Reply #6 on: 03/01/2020 09:01 pm »
I am big fan of Tory since really long time! After those videos I am even more impressed!

Offline SWGlassPit

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Re: ULA factory tour with Tory Bruno
« Reply #7 on: 03/02/2020 03:28 pm »
I was interested though in how they formed the aluminum body pieces, and how he said they did not plan to automate the process that they currently use for bending. And kudos to the workers on that line, because they have a lot of parameters they have to manually account for in bending those huge panels. But that type of operation is ripe for automation, so it was interesting...

Kudos to Destin for not only getting the tour, but for asking informed questions. And kudos too to Tory Bruno for giving the tour and providing full and detailed answers - he knows rocketry and rocket manufacturing.

Well worth watching.

It kinda goes to show that there's just as much art and craftsmanship as there is raw science and engineering going into these things.  You can write down and automate processes, but sometimes there's no substitute for someone who lives and breathes the product.  I've seen it firsthand in a number of surprising places.

I loved the fact that Destin's questions were well-informed, not just from a rocket standpoint, but from a manufacturing processes standpoint as well.  Those two skill sets don't always intermingle, and it's nice to see something that hits both angles.

Offline SkipMorrow

Re: ULA factory tour with Tory Bruno
« Reply #8 on: 03/02/2020 04:26 pm »
I very much enjoyed both videos. I was especially surprised by the candid talk about how the industry is built with "competimates", when discussing how they get engines from competitors. I am a FIRST Lego League coach and we use the term "coopertition" to encourage the kids to work together. Very similar ideas.

Destin, thanks (if you ever see this)!

 

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