Development & Manufacturing of X-37 Space Plane Flaperons & Ruddervators
(click on thumbnail to enlarge)
LH Flaperon on Assembly Fixture model
RH Flaperon Assembly Fixture
X-37B Pre Launch
Since 2004, LX3 Corporation has been involved in the process development and manufacturing of Boeing's X-37 space plane Flaperons and Ruddervators. These complex assemblies serve as the control surfaces for the X-37. All components are constructed of carbon/carbon composite with an outer ceramic conversion coating. These materials are needed to survive the high temperatures of re-entry from outer space. The program was originally started by NASA, and was then transferred to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). LX3 Corporation was subcontracted by Carbon Carbon Advanced Technologies (C-CAT) to work on this project.
Our areas of involvement for this program include:
- Design and manufacturing of composite layup tooling for various components.
- Manufacturing of assembly fixtures and tools.
- Design and manufacturing of machining fixtures.
- Machining program development for carbon/carbon components.
- CNC machining and inspection of carbon/carbon components.
LX3 is still involved in this ongoing project, providing manufacturing and inspection of components for future flight units. The X-37B was launched on its 2nd mission March 5, 2011. On its maiden voyage the X-37B spent 225 days in orbit.
Development & Manufacturing of X-37 Space Plane Flaperons & Ruddervators Project Highlights
|Product Description || ||LX3 Corporation is involved in the manufacturing of Flaperons and Ruddervators for the X-37 Space Plane.|
|Capabilities Applied/Processes || |
- Composite Layup Tooling
- Machining Fixtures
- Developed machining strategies for carbon/carbon components to greatly improve assembly tolerance.
- Solid Modeling (Solidworks)
- Supporting Documentation
- Solid Models
- Inspection Reports
- Manufactured Composite Layup Tooling
- Manufactured Graphite Restraints
- Manufactured Machining Fixtures
- Manufactured Assembly Tooling
- CAM Programming (Surfcam)
- CNC Machining of carbon/carbon parts
|Equipment Used|| ||CNC Mill|
|Tightest Tolerances|| ||± .0003"|
|Materials Used Tooling and Fixtures|| |
|Composite Layup Tooling:|
Ren Tooling Board
|Machining Fixtures and Assembly Tooling:|
|Materials Used Flaperon and Ruddervator Components|| |
Ceramic Conversion Coating on exposed surfaces
|All composite layup, processing, coatings and final assembly performed by CCAT|
|In process testing/inspection performed|| ||CMM and Dimensional Inspection of all Tooling & Components |
|Manufacturing Turn Around Time|| ||Ongoing Project|
Currently on DQ4 (4th Flight Unit)
|Industry for Use|| ||Aerospace|
|Standards Met|| ||CCAT Dimensional Tolerance Requirements|
|Delivery Location|| ||Arlington, Texas|
|Product Name|| ||X-37 Space Plane Flaperon and Ruddervator Assemblies|
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