During the past week I’ve had French customers visiting my department within the space division. Thanks to our rich product key within both the civil and military market are no visitors allowed to walk as they wish through the plant. Consequently they need to be escorted by a GKN employee, a mission I didn’t hesitate to take on. Besides walking our visitors to the gate, their office and the dining hall am I accompanying many interesting meetings concerning the development and manufacturing of the nozzle (a very advanced exhaust pipe) to Europe’s next launcher Ariane 6. Normally I work with manufacturing engineering related to the nozzle so the given opportunity to take part of the work behind the curtains and the hardware logic is not only worthwhile for our visitors but also for me.
I am sure that many of you have heard about SpaceX, founded by the storied entrepreneur Elon Musk. He is also the founder of Tesla and a couple of other world famous high-tech companies. SpaceX’s idea is to create a reusable launcher in contrast to the current launcher programs which are scrapped after one journey into space. This brilliant idea might sound as no-brainer but the advancement in technology has always been the focus which never brought reusability into the spotlight – until now. Naturally, this puts a lot of pressure on the well-established rocket manufactures due to the fact that cost have evolved into a crucial success factor. Another important factor is the private ownership in SpaceX, both NASA and ESA are founded by governmental coalitions. This has increased the competition and driven lead times of development of new hardware to new dimensions.
But what have my French customers to do with this? During the following weeks will GKN together with our customers optimize our product so that we can launch a highly competitive rocket into space. And how cool isn’t it that Trollhättan helps putting Europe on the map when it comes to exploring space?!
A short introduction to the configuration of Ariane 6.