Verisurf, VISTAGY announce involvement in SpaceX composites work

Verisurf will provide metrology technology, while VISTAGY will provide FiberSIM software for the design and development of composite structures on the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft program.

Verisurf Software Inc. (Anaheim, Calif., USA) on Oct. 1 announced it has entered into an exclusive agreement with Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX, Hawthorne, Calif.). Under the agreement, Verisurf will become SpaceX’s software standard for real time information regarding surface variance on composite tooling, to perform crucial final acceptance inspection, and to create surface deviation reports for the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles, as well as the Dragon spacecraft programs.

SpaceX cited Verisurf’s ease of use, proven industry experience and leadership in expanding the use of 3-D CAD data into complex aerospace assembly and inspection processes as the reasons for the agreement. “Verisurf’s CAD connectivity, broad 3-D device support and powerful measurement functionality are a great complement to our current programs,” said Chris Thompson, SpaceX vice president of manufacturing. “ These benefits, coupled with its ease of use and reputation as a standard in the aerospace industry, make Verisurf a great choice for SpaceX.”

“Verisurf is proud to be the corporate standard for SpaceX, a company with the highest level of innovation and quality in commercial spaceflight. We will do whatever is necessary to support SpaceX as they strive to develop affordable access to space”, stated Ernie Husted, president and CEO of Verisurf.

In other SpaceX news, VISTAGY Inc. (Waltham, Mass., USA) reports that its FiberSIM composites design software has been used by SpaceX to reduce the design time and enhance the efficiency of the composites development process for the Dragon spacecraft. NASA has selected the Dragon spacecraft, in conjunction with the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, to provide reliable and efficient transport of cargo and potentially crew to the International Space Station (ISS) and other low Earth orbit (LEO) destinations. SpaceX is targeting late 2009 for the inaugural launch of Falcon 9.

FiberSIM is being used to develop production composite fiber placement diagrams and laser projection files. It will be used to assist with actual fiber placement for the spacecraft’s thermal protection system, including the heat shield, exterior panels and insulating layers on the rocket and spacecraft, and several panels around the engines . The software is used from the outset on all new composites projects and has enabled SpaceX to reduce the design-to-manufacturing time on composite partssuch as the 5m fairing boattail panelfrom seven to two days.Pictured is the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft approaching the International Space Station. SpaceX purchased VISTAGY’s FiberSIM® composites engineering software to reduce the design time and enhance the efficiency of the development process for the Dragon crew and cargo capsule. FiberSIM is being used from the outset on all new composites projects and has enabled SpaceX to reduce the design-to-manufacturing time on composite parts for this spacecraft by over 70 percent. Photo Courtesy NASA.

 “Time is always of the essence, so FiberSIM’s proven ability to take us from art to part so rapidly was a critical consideration in our decision to purchase the software,” said Chris Thompson, vice president of structures engineering for SpaceX.