NEW YORK–Alcoa aluminum plays a critical role in the future of NASA’s Ares
rocket, named by Time magazine as the 2009 Invention of the Year.
The rocket, which Time called, “The best and smartest and coolest
thing built in 2009 — a machine that can launch human beings to cosmic
destinations we’d never considered before…” depends on Alcoa’s
aluminum-lithium alloys for the lightweight, strong plates used in the
Breakthrough aluminum-lithium alloy technology continues to be developed
at the Alcoa Technical Center in Pittsburgh to support projects such as
the Ares program, along with first-of-a-kind manufacturing practices to
meet the challenge of turning aluminum-lithium ingots into high
performance plate products.
Aluminum-lithium ingots are cast at Alcoa Technical Center before being
shipped to Alcoa’s Davenport Works in Iowa, where they are rolled into
plate. Alcoa’s Davenport Works is the only supplier certified by NASA to
provide the light gauge, high quality plate for the Ares 1 crew launch
NASA awarded Alcoa contracts now totaling $18.7 million since 2007 to
develop manufacturing capabilities and to supply the initial
requirements for aluminum-lithium alloy products. A year later, NASA
certified Alcoa as the sole supplier of the high performance
aluminum-lithium alloy thin plate. In supplying plate products to NASA
since 2008, Alcoa’s Technical Center and Davenport Works facilities have
demonstrated both the capability and flexibility needed for NASA to meet
its program goals.
Alcoa aluminum has been used in the space program since its inception.
Alcoa and NASA are also collaborating on Ares V, the heavy cargo launch
vehicle currently under development.
“We congratulate NASA on this significant recognition of the cutting
edge technologies used on its Ares rockets program,” said Harry
Kiskaddon, Commercial Director – Alcoa Aerospace. “And we’re honored to
play such a critical role in the agency’s next generation of space
Alcoa is a leader in the development of aluminum-lithium alloys, which
are lightweight, low density and strong. Aluminum-lithium alloy 2099 won
the R&D 100 Award, considered the Oscars of Invention, in 2007.
Alcoa (NYSE:AA) is the world leader in the production and management of
primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina combined, through its
active and growing participation in all major aspects of the industry.
Alcoa serves the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and
construction, commercial transportation and industrial markets, bringing
design, engineering, production and other capabilities of Alcoa’s
businesses to customers. In addition to aluminum products and components
including flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings,
Alcoa also markets Alcoa® wheels, fastening systems, precision and
investment castings, and building systems. The Company has been named
one of the top most sustainable corporations in the world at the World
Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and has been a member of the Dow
Jones Sustainability Index for eight consecutive years. Alcoa employs
approximately 63,000 people in 31 countries across the world. More
information can be found at www.alcoa.com