First Weld Completed on Orion Test Article at Michoud
On April 16, Lockheed Martin engineers at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans completed the first weld on an Orion crew module ground test article using the facility's new friction stir weld tool. The tool is a component of the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing -- a partnership between NASA, the state of Louisiana and the University of New Orleans to develop new welding, fabrication and material evaluation techniques for use in aerospace and commercial markets. The friction stir weld tool, called the Universal Weld System II, will be used to join an Aluminum-Lithium (AL) 2195 cone panel and AL 2219 longeron, or thin piece of metal fastened to the skin of an aircraft, on the Orion ground test article. The Orion test article will be the first full-scale crew module for Orion manufactured for testing in flight-like environments on the ground. The Orion crew module is a component of the Constellation Program, which is developing NASA's next generation of crew exploration and launch vehicles. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Michoud facility. The Orion project is managed by NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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