Assembly Techniques for Space Vehicles 2000-01-3028
Assembly techniques for the majority of expendable and reusable launch vehicles have not changed much over the last thirty years. Some progress has been made, specifically on new programs, however, improvements on existing expendable launch vehicle production lines can be difficult to justify; even more so for one or two reusable vehicles.
This presentation will focus on techniques and systems used for manual and automated assembly of expendable and reusable launch vehicle primary structures. Today's assembly is characterized by manual operations involving fixtures and templates, and all tasks are carried out primarily with single function hand tools. Typical assembly approaches used for metallic and composite primary structures will be discussed. Potential opportunities for process improvements utilizing advanced hand tools, mechanized and/or automated equipment will be addressed.