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Various new production methods developed within ESA's Future Launchers Preparatory Programme are improving manufacturing efficiency, for instance, a ‘Flow forming’ technique shapes a metal element in a single step. This has been demonstrated in recent manufacturing trials co-funded between ESA and NASA Langley.
This technique reduces weld seams making rocket structures stronger and lighter while speeding up production. It is also better for the environment because it saves energy and there is no waste material.
Ten 3-m diameter aluminium demonstration cylinders that are representative of an interstage were successfully manufactured and tested in April 2019.