• 04.12.2021
  • Space
  • Media release

RUAG Space: First fully U.S.-made fairing to fly into space

On Dec. 5, a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket will launch a U.S. defense satellite into space. It will be the first flight of a RUAG Space payload fairing fully produced in the USA....

On Sun., Dec. 5, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch the Space Test Program (STP)-3 mission for the U.S. Space Force (USSF) Space Systems Command (SSC) from Cape Canaveral, Fla. “This flight is a key milestone for us,” said Dan Merenda, managing director RUAG Space USA. “For the very first time, a fully U.S.-made fairing from us will fly into space.” It is also the first time a payload fairing made in the Out-of-Autoclave production process will fly aboard an Atlas V rocket.

“The Out-of-Autoclave manufacturing method is an alternative process to cure carbon fiber composites using only an oven,” said Dan Merenda. It avoids a high-pressure autoclave that is expensive and restricts the size of pieces that can fit inside. A fairing is made of two half-shells. Its structure is made with composite technology based on aluminum honeycomb cores with carbon fiber reinforced plastic face sheets. Its role is to protect the payloads (satellites) on ascent through the atmosphere.

Fairings made in Decatur, Alabama
The fairing for the ULA rocket for the STP-3 mission was produced at the RUAG Space site in Decatur, Ala. Previously, RUAG Space in Emmen, Switzerland, had built the Atlas V's 5.4-meter-diameter payload fairings. These have flown successfully more than 30 times. The STP-3 launch marks the 90th launch of the Atlas V rocket. In the future, it will be succeeded by the Vulcan Centaur rocket, for which RUAG Space will also supply the U.S.-manufactured out-of-autoclave fairings. In addition to the payload fairing, RUAG Space will supply payload attachment fittings, interstage adapters and other composite parts for the Vulcan rocket using out-of-autoclave technology. All products will be manufactured in Decatur.



Image 1: Payload Fairing for Atlas V from RUAG Space. Download: https://www.ruag.com/system/files/media_document/2021-12/2018%20Fairing%20Decatur.jpg

Image 2: Dan Merenda, Managing Director RUAG Space USA.  Download: https://www.ruag.com/system/files/media_document/2021-12/Daniel%20Merenda.jpg

Images from Atlas V rockets:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/ulalaunch/collections/72157665407843438/

Media contact RUAG Space
Philipp Bircher, Director Communication RUAG Space, +41 79 790 11 81, philipp.bircher@ruag.com
Christian Thalmayr, Communication RUAG Space, +43 1 801 499 2165, christian.thalmayr@ruag.com

RUAG Space, headquartered in Zurich, is the leading supplier to the space industry in Europe with a growing presence in the USA. Around 1300 employees in six countries (Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, Germany, USA and Finland) develop and manufacture products for satellites and launch vehicles - for both the institutional and commercial space markets.

RUAG Space is part of RUAG International, a Swiss technology group with production sites in 14 countries, which is divided into four divisions: Space, Aerostructures, MRO International and Ammotec. RUAG International employs around 6,000 people, about two thirds of whom work outside Switzerland. www.ruag.com