Magna on the Launchpad
We’ve been part of the space race for 25 years, producing precision components for satellites and rockets in the former Steyr-Daimler-Puch plant in Graz, Austria, where auto pioneer and industrialist Johann Puch once built automobiles, bicycles and motorcycles.
Today, Magna’s aerospace division is busy producing more than 100 components, including supplying Boeing with a critical element of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS)? rocket. The SLS, is a powerful rocket that will enable astronauts to explore destinations far into the solar system, starting with Artemis lunar missions.
?“Whether on Earth or in space, Magna is working on the future of mobility,” said Armin Scheinost, Magna Aerospace branch manager. “The technology is similar for both, and there are a lot of synergies. We work on everything from high-pressure gas tanks for satellites to automotive applications for alternative fuels, such as compressed natural gas or hydrogen.”?
The SLS will include Magna’s pressurization lines, with technology that is designed to maintain the desired pressure in the massive liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tanks that hold 733,000 gallons of propellant that help launch the rocket. The delivery of the pressurization lines marked an important milestone for Magna, since it is the first time, we supplied components to a NASA program.
Our aviation and aerospace operation has expertise in liquid hydrogen storage, a key technology for the future of mobility – on the ground and in deep space. The pressurization lines also are a natural extension of Magna’s work on developing the gas tank for the BMW Hydrogen 7, a limited-production hydrogen-powered luxury sedan.
“I always compare the importance of pressurization lines with a can of Coke,” explained Scheinost. “If the can is full, you can stand on it, but if it’s empty, it will be crushed. The same thing happens to the launch system on a rocket. If the tank is not under the proper pressure, it will collapse, and the mission will be lost.”
Because parts used in the propulsion of a space launch vehicle must withstand severe operating conditions, Magna underwent an extensive qualification and certification process to meet the high quality and safety standards of Boeing and NASA. The aerospace plant even looks like something out of 2001: A Space Odyssey, with special “clean rooms” designed to protect components sensitive to contamination.
Our experience in cryogenic propellant lines goes back to the 1990s, with the first Magna mission beyond the confines of Earth.
At that time, Magna was a development and manufacturing partner for the Ariane 5, a heavy-lift rocket that was designed to take satellites and other payloads into low Earth orbit. We continue to provide components for Ariane 5, a program that is supervised by the European Space Agency and the French space agency CNES.
It’s just another way that Magna is rocketing past the competition when it comes to envisioning and supporting new mobility.