Rock West Composites announces that this month it has delivered three 9 ft. by 9 ft. assembly fixtures that are part of the Precision Assembly Space Structure (PASS) program supporting NASA’s On-orbit Servicing Assembly and Manufacturing (OSAM). Designed with tight tolerances for thermal and moisture stability, the fixtures also required 0.002 in. flatness across 9 fittings and 0.002 in. positional tolerance across the holes and slots for those fittings encompassing the full 9 ft. by 9 ft. panel.
SAN DIEGO, Aug. 18, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — This month Rock West Composites (RWC) delivered three assembly fixtures for NASA’s Precision Assembly Space Structure (PASS) program supporting the On-orbit Servicing Assembly and Manufacturing (OSAM) efforts. These fixtures are part of NASA’s push for next generation manufacturing technology that will enable in-orbit construction of high-precision hardware, such as reflectors and antennas, for programs such as Artemis.
When we can find ways to innovate our manufacturing process that ultimately save our customer time and money, it’s a win-win. We hope to recycle this process for similar large and tight tolerance structures to continue to push the envelope of what’s possible.
RWC helped define the requirements and designed the hardware to meet the challenging operational parameters for these fixtures. There are 9 holes and 9 slots on 9 fittings which required a positional tolerance of 0.002 in. The 9 fittings also required a flatness across the fixture of 0.002 in. The panel has to interface with a strut assembly and have very low coefficients of thermal and moisture expansion to ensure high precision and repeatability.
RWC used a spliced panel design to meet the 9 ft. by 9 ft. sizing. Innovative soft fixturing with fine tuning adjustment capability was used to meet tight tolerances in a cost-effective manner. A laser tracker was used to verify tolerances during manufacture.
“We are proud to be part of this program supporting…