Firefly Aerospace to automate composite rocket production with Ingersoll AFP machine

The company plans to transition manufacture of its Alpha and Beta all-composite launch vehicles to automated fiber placement starting in 2021.

Carbon Fibers

Episode 34: Carmelo Lo Faro, Solvay Composite Materials

Carmelo Lo Faro, president of Solvay Composite Materials, talks about how he sees aerocomposites evolving in the time of COVID-19, the rise of computational power to evolve composites use, the prospects for increased composites use in the automotive market, and the increasing importance of education in the composites industry.


Firefly Aerospace announces new customer agreements, completed acceptance tests

One step closer to launch, the Alpha launch vehicle passed Stage One acceptance testing. Spire Global and Geometric Space signed on as Alpha customers.


Vega VV16 rocket launches with Bercella composites dispenser structure onboard

The CFRP dispenser structure, developed for the Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS), was successfully launched for the European Space Agency.


Hexagon Purus to produce high-performance composite pressure vessels

The subsidary of Hexagon Composites has been awarded a contract to design, develop, qualify and produce for a new major aerospace company.


U.S. Department of the Air Force-Boeing X-37B team recognized for aerospace excellence

The team received the Robert J. Collier Trophy for advancing the performance, efficiency and safety of air and space vehicles.


HX5 thermoplastic nanocomposite presents an alternative to aluminum for space applications

Alpine Advanced Materials’ HX5 demonstrated retention of 96% mechanical performance with exposure to five million rads of gamma radiation.   


NASA announces new James Webb Space Telescope target launch date

The observatory is expected to launch Oct. 31, 2021, a change resulting from technical challenges and the impact of the pandemic.


SpaceShipTwo completes second test flight

The VSS Unity’s second glide test continues collecting system evaluation and vehicle performance data to prepare the aircraft for powered spaceflights. 

Carbon Fibers

Boron fiber: The original high-performance fiber

History and future developments for high-performance boron fiber.


NASA rocket motors arrive at Kennedy Space Center for Artemis program

The rocket motors are the next step toward NASA’s Artemis I space launch in 2021. 


Northrop Grumman awarded first crew module contract

The HALO module design is adapted from the Cygnus spacecraft designed by Northrop Grumman, and will serve as both crew habitat and docking hub for cislunar spacecraft.

Carbon Fibers

Successful tower extension test for James Webb space telescope

The test ensured the tower extensions on NASA’s composites-intensive telescope would keep the structure cool enough to detect infrared light. 


Satellite deployer redesign supported by 3D-printed composites

A Scottish technology company employs additive manufacturing and CRP Technology composite materials for a lighter, more manufacturable PocketQube deployer.

Carbon Fibers

Anomalies force Virgin Orbit to terminate LauncherOne test

Despite the termination, the test flight provided data necessary to make adjustments for future launches. 


Siemens Gamesa launches 14-MW offshore direct drive turbine

The SG 14-222 DD wind turbine 108-meter blades, a lightweight nacelle and more.   

Additive Manufacturing

SpaceAM announces preliminary lineup for September event

A conference and exhibition highlighting the use of advanced materials in space technology is scheduled to take place Sept. 15-16, 2020 in Leicester, U.K. 


Plant tour: Hexcel, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.

The scale, precision, speed and quality of carbon fiber manufacture has evolved substantially since the material’s modern introduction in the late 1960s. Hexcel offers a glimpse of the state of the art today.


Virgin Galactic, NASA sign space agreement

The Space Act Agreement (SAA) represents a partnership between Virgin Galactic and NASA for the development of high-speed, and environmentally sustainable, aviation technology.


Boeing-built X-37B launches in second mission for U.S. Space Force

The May 17 launch is the sixth mission for the autonomous spaceplane, and includes added payload capacity for support a variety of experiments.

NASA extends SLS rocket engines contract with Aerojet Rocketdyne

Under the $1.79 billion contract, Aerojet Rocketdyne will manufacture 18 additional Space Launch System (SLS) RS-25 rocket engines for Artemis missions.


NASA names companies to develop human landers for Artemis

Blue Origins, Dynetics and SpaceX are developing human landing systems concepts for Artemis’s 2024 moon mission.


Firefly, Spaceflight Inc. sign launch services agreement

The agreement promotes a long-term strategic collaboration between Firefly Aerospace and Spaceflight Inc. to address increasing demand in the commercial small-satellite market.


SpaceShipTwo completes New Mexico glide test

The VSS Unity’s successfully completed its first flight to test performance and handling characteristics, preparing for eventual commercial use.