Associated Press Published

W.Va. Plant Provides Metal for Orion Spacecraft


A West Virginia plant is playing a role in NASA’s experimental Orion spacecraft.

Metals used in the inner structure of the Orion crew capsule were produced at Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood in Jackson County.

The Charleston Gazette reports that the metals used in the capsule’s backbone, window frames and dome plate were made at the facility.

Officials say a new lithium-infused aluminum alloy was made specifically for the project.

In 2009, the company began shipping the alloys for Orion to Lockheed Martin, which won a $6.4 billion NASA contract in 2006 to build the Orion space capsule.

The spacecraft rocketed into orbit Dec. 5, traveling 3,600 miles into space on an unmanned test flight. NASA plans to use future models to help get astronauts to Mars in coming decades.