29 June 2010

Cutting-edge Low Density Aluminum Products contribute to the success of SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle

Alcan  Global  Aerospace  Transportation  and  Industry  (Alcan  Global  ATI),  part  of  Alcan Engineered Products – a business unit of Rio Tinto – congratulates SpaceX on the recent successful  inaugural flight  of its Falcon 9  launch  vehicle from Cape  Canaveral,  Florida. The Falcon 9 and its Dragon spacecraft are designed to re-supply the International Space Station under contract with NASA. 

Our company has a long lasting leadership in developing cutting edge technologies for the  aerospace  industry",  said  Christophe  Villemin,  Alcan  Global  ATI  President.  “To  be chosen  by  SpaceX  for  the  Falcon  9  represents  a  new  launch  pad  for  our  most  recent aluminium-based  solutions.  It  shows  how  much  our  Low  Density  Alloys  combine  both reliability and innovation thus contributing to the success of critical space programs”. 

Alcan Global ATI supplies low density aluminum sheet and plate for the tank barrel and domes  of  the  Falcon  9  to  help  SpaceX  meet  its  objective  of  providing  reliable,  efficient and  cost-effective  transport  of  cargo,  and  potentially human  crew  to  low-earth-orbit destinations. 
Alcan helps us meet our goal of increasing access to space by providing the advanced aluminum-based solution that enables our Falcon 9 first stage to be both highly durable and lightweight,” said Chris Thompson, VP of Structures at SpaceX. “This is a key factor in developing  launchers that  are  both  reliable  and  cost  efficient  and we  are  pleased  to have Alcan as our supplier.” 

To achieve its goals of providing long-term reliable and affordable space transportation, SpaceX makes extensive use of Alcan Global ATI materials. Rolled products come from both  Alcan’s  facilities  in  Ravenswood,  US,  and  Issoire,  France. By working together, these plants are able to supply an optimized suite of low density aluminum  alloys  to aerospace customers in sheet, plate, extrusion or ingot form. 

Alcan  Global  ATI  has  a  longstanding  record  of  providing  adapted  materials  to  the demanding  space  industry.  The  external  liquid  oxygen  fuel  tank  used  to  boost  NASA’s space shuttle into orbit has been built using Alcan Global ATI aluminum solutions since 1998.  Our  materials  are  also  used  to  make  engine  parts  for  the  European  Ariane  5 launcher.  

Through  close  technical  collaboration with designers and manufacturers of spacesystems, Alcan Global ATI is able to provide material solutions that help ensure safe and reliable space flight. 

About Alcan Global ATI  

Alcan  Global  ATI  employs  approximately  3.500  people  and  has  manufacturing  plants  in Europe  and  North  America.  A  world  leader  in  the  production  of  aerospace  plates,  Alcan Global ATI provides its customers with its entire portfolio of advanced lightweight aluminium solutions.  Thanks  to  its  global  R&D,  manufacturing  and  commercial  reach,  Alcan  Global ATI  is  able  to  build  long-term  supply  and  innovative  technology  partnerships  with  major aerospace leaders.  

About Alcan Engineered Products 

Alcan  Engineered  Products  is  a  global  sector-leader  strongly  committed  to  developing innovative, value added aluminum products for a broad range of civil and defense markets and applications, including aerospace, mass transportation, automotive, packaging, energy and  building.  With  around  11.000  employees  located  in  27  countries  and  a  commercial presence  in  more than  60  markets  across  Europe,  the  Middle  East,  Africa,  the  Americas and  the  Asia-Pacific  region,  Alcan  Engineered  Products  is  organized  around  businesses dedicated  to  performance  materials  in  the  areas  of  aluminum  rolled  products,  extrusions and  automotive  structures,  aluminum  cable  and  international  trade.  Alcan  Engineered Products is headquartered in Paris, France.  

About Rio Tinto  

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc,  a  London  and  NYSE  listed  company,  and  Rio  Tinto  Limited,  which  is  listed  on  the Australian Securities Exchange. 

Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium,  copper,  diamonds,  energy  (coal  and  uranium),  gold,  industrial  minerals  (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia  and North  America with  significant businesses  in  South  America, Asia,  Europe and southern Africa. 


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Cutting-edge Low Density Aluminum Products contribute to the success of SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle (PDF)

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