Dynetics’ new Aerospace Structures Complex in Decatur opened its doors today. The new facility supports the development, integration and structural qualification testing of large aerospace structures for NASA, the Department of Defense and commercial customers.
Initially, Dynetics will use the facility to build the NASA Space Launch System’s Universal Stage Adapter and to perform structural qualification testing for United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur booster.
“It’s an exciting time for the space industry. NASA’s exploration programs, including the Space Launch System, Human Lander System and Gateway afford the Alabama space community the opportunity to make significant contributions to the establishment of a human lunar economy and to landing humans on Mars,” said Kim Doering, Dynetics vice president of space systems. “ULA’s new Vulcan Centaur launcher will provide a critical capability to support defense of our nation and to support the burgeoning small satellite market. Dynetics decided to build this complex so we could contribute to these vital projects. Our new complex will play an essential role within Alabama’s aerospace landscape.”
The $21 million complex has three buildings — Test Stand 1, Test Control Center and the Hardware Integration Facility.
Construction of the complex started in late August, 2017 and was performed by B.L. Harbert. The Test Stand 1, which is 60 feet long, 60 feet wide and 100 feet tall, was the first facility built near the Tennessee River. It can hoist 35 tons.
The 4,000-square-foot Test Control Center offers customers the capability to view tests and analyze real time data onsite.
The 43,000-square-foot Hardware Integration Facility allows for the assembly of large aerospace structures and houses test cells. Within the facility, the integration high bay is 15,000 square feet.
“The strategic location and partnership with Dynetics provides ULA with advanced testing capabilities that will benefit the Vulcan Centaur program,” said Mark Peller, vice president of major development. “This structural test article is an important step in ensuring that the Vulcan Centaur is ready to launch in 2021 supporting our nation’s national security space program.”
The site was chosen, in part, because of the Tennessee River, which will be used to help customers transport structures for testing.
Now that the complex is open, Dynetics expects to employ 25 people at the complex, with the potential for more jobs added later.