AASC's heritage in the fabrication, design, analysis and test of space structures began in 1966.  As a result, we have the knowledge, capability and facilities to manufacture virtually any complex size structure necessary to meet your requirements.  Products that we have manufactured range from small strut tubes to complete spacecraft structural assemblies.

Spacecraft Bus Structure

Satellite Structures 

AASC has fabricated more than 120 satellite structures since 1968. and has established industry-recognized, manufacturing expertise due to our extensive heritage of flight-proven composite and aluminum honeycomb assemblies.


Antares Launch Vehicle

Launch Vehicles 

AASC is fully equipped for the fabrication and testing of large Launch Vehicle assemblies, including:

  • Fairings/Shrouds
  • Payload and Motor Adaptors
  • Interstages
  • Canards
  • Nose Cones
  • Structural Decks
  • Avionic Panels

Upon completion of the Orion Launch Abort System, AASC was awarded a contract to manufacture the Antares Launch Vehicle Composite Structures.

Orion LAS

AASC was contracted by Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Virgina to manufacture the Orion Launch Abort System (LAS) composite structures.

Orion Testing

AASC successfully completed static load testing for the second Adaptor Cone in early August, 2008. At the Building 6 test cage, the adaptor cone satisfied Orbital’s criteria and was approved by Lockheed Martin and NASA.

Antares Launch Vehicle

AASC has been awarded a contract by Orbital Sciences Corporation to manufacture the composite structures for the Antares Launch Vehicle.

3.0m High Gain Antenna

High Gain Antenna Reflector

Antenna Reflectors 

AASC has fabricated more than 200 antenna reflectors within the last 10 years with many of them designed by AASC's expert design team.

Antenna Reflectors

AASC specializes in the design and fabrication of antenna reflectors of various diameters.  These range from small (less than 1 meter) to large (greater than 3 meters) antennas for communication satellites and deep space missions.

Antenna Tower

Antenna Tower and Reflectors

Antenna Towers 

AASC has fabricated numerous antenna tower structures of varying dimensions with and without integrated reflectors.


The antenna towers fabricated at AASC have been standalone or can include fabrication and alignment of the main reflectors and subreflectors.  Extreme stability and accuracy are the key characteristics for these structures. 


Outer Barrel Assembly

Optical Structures 

For 10 years AASC has designed and fabricated optic structures of various properties and dimensions for space applications.  Extreme stability and accuracy are the key characteristics for optic structures. 

Composite Optical Bench

AASC has fabricated several composite optical benches and thermally stable structures for the space industry.  These structures require the use of precision alignment techniques and equipment currently available at AASC.

Metallic Optic Bench

AASC has fabricated metallic optical benches for use in space applications.  These structures also require the use of precision alignment techniques and equipment in use at AASC.

Telescope Structures

AASC has fabricated composite and metallic telescope structures for precision payloads and is well versed in all the requirements necessary to satisfy system level performance.

Solar Panel Substrate

Solar Panel Close-up

Solar Substrates 

Solar array substrates, or spacecraft power structures, are one of the most commonly produced composite hardware at AASC.  These structures require the use of extremely lightweight materials to meet operational and environmental requirements.  Additionally, these structures must survive the most extreme hot and cold temperature cycles found in space.  AASC has fabricated more than 900 of these structures and has the knowledge and equipment to produce these structures to the strictest of requirements.


Spacecraft Heat Pipe Panel

Thermal Control 

AASC has all the facilities and equipment to produce large custom heat pipe panels and apply optical solar reflectors (OSRs) and specialty thermal paints to meet the thermal demands of the space environment.  AASC has fabricated more than 200 heat pipe panels over the last 10 years as large as 180 inches by 120 inches.


AASC routinely fabricates thermal control structures as part of our delivered satellite bus assemblies or as individual panel deliverables.  These panels range from high temperature capable thermal shields and shrouds to payload heat pipe panels to large surface deployable radiators.


AASC routinely applies thermal control coatings to many of our structures.  These range from very fragile optical solar reflectors (mirrors) to thermal paints to very thin films that are co-cured with composites or secondarily bonded to our structures.

Composite Tube End Fitting

Graphite Strut End Fitting

Struts and Tubes 

AASC has fabricated various size composite tubes for the space industry since 1968.  These tubes range from metallic (aluminum or titanium) bonded end fittings to molded graphite fittings to integral composite fittings.  Sizes range from pencil size tubes to large booms on the order of 12 inches in diameter and over 150 inches long.


Reflector Finite Element Model

Design and Analysis 

AASC is well versed in providing "build-to-specification" hardware for the space industry.  AASC utilizes the latest, industry approved software for computer aided design and engineering.  AASC provides design and analysis through all stages of a program (conceptualization, preliminary design, detailed design, testing and test data reduction).  All typical space environments are well known to AASC and are easily addressed throughout the design process.

Thermal Distortion

AASC provides thermal distortion analysis, a very critical design feature, for precision structures.  Our knowledge of the fabrication processes and materials is instrumental in understanding and predicting thermal distortion and on-orbit performance.

FE Analysis

AASC provides Nastran finite element modeling and analysis for composite structures.  With a significant materials database and knowledge of composite failure criteria, AASC can quickly provide feedback for any composite structure.

CAD Modeling

AASC has all the CAD software and trained personnel required to interface with all our customers data.  These CAD systems include Solidworks, Pro/Engineer, Catia and AutoCad.  AASC also has the capability to accept IGES and STEP data exchange formats.


Space Shuttle Carrier

Manned Missions 

AASC has supported NASA with hardware on many manned flight missions including all of the Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions.  AASC has provided numerous components for the International Space Station and continues to support other manned mission requirements.


AASC's Static Load Test Cage


AASC has full testing capabilities in Static Load, Non-Destruct, Materials, and Thermal Cycle Testing.

Static Load Testing
AASC has a state-of-the-art static load test capability at our Stockton facility.

Non-Destruct Testing 
AASC is a leader in the fabrication of advanced bonded assemblies.

  • Two Thru-Transmission Ultrasonic (TTU) Test Machines
  • TTU is Air, Water, and C-Scan Capable
  • A-Scan Capable
  • Digital X-ray
  • Ultrasonic and Fluorescent Penetrant Testing

Materials Testing
AASC has an on-site lab dedicated to materials testing as listed below.

  • Physical Materials Testing
  • Mechanical Analysis
  • Mechanical Analysis of Adhesives
  • Chemical Testing

Thermal Cycle Testing
AASC has four Thermal Cycle Chambers onsite (two small, one medium, and one large).

Other Testing Capabilities
AASC maintains close relationships with outsource companies to fulfill Sine-Vibe, Acoustic, Modal-Tap, and Thermal Distortion Testing.

Static Load Testing

AASC has a state-of-the-art static load test capability at our Stockton facility. The new MTS Corporation system includes hydraulic pumps, electro-mechanical controls, actuators, load cells, and system level controls.

The hydraulic system consists of a Hydraulic Pressure unit (HPU) that feeds the Hydraulics Service Manifold (HSM), which in turn feeds the distribution manifolds. From there the fluid feeds through individual load abort modules to the actuators. The system is currently configured to run up to eight actuators, with manifolds and load aborts on hand to run 12 actuators if required. Each actuator has a two-bridge load cell on its output end and a displacement transducer on the piston rear.

The system is governed by the Aero ST Control System which controls the test completely closed loop either by displacement or by force. A test configuration is programmed into the system and a test simulation is performed to validate the program before any hardware is touched. We use the system in force-control mode using one bridge of each load cell for feedback; the load cell’s second bridge is wired into the HBM data acquisition system, using Catman Measurement software along with the strain gage outputs. The house system can accommodate 500 channels with up to 24 LVDT.

AASC load actuators:

  • Quantity six (6) 201.70, 215kip, in the test cage
  • Quantity two (2) 201.45, 100kip, loose
  • Quantity four (4) 201.35, 55kip, loose
  • Quantity one (1) 201.25, 22kip, loose
  • Quantity two (2) 201.17, 7kip, loose

Non-Destruct Testing

AASC is a leader in the fabrication of advanced bonded assemblies. We have extensive heritage in the Non-Destructive Testing of lightweight metallic and composite bonding, and have Nadcap Accreditation in both UT and PT methods, to provide the highest quality testing possible. Our systems utilize ‘Winspect’, the state of the art software for instrumentation and computer-based data acquisition and analysis systems.

  • Two Thru-Transmission Ultrasonic (TTU) Test Machines 8’ x 16’ and 4’ x 4’ (Complete through transmission ultrasonic systems can be designed with total immersion, squirter, or non-contact air-coupled instrumentation for water sensitive material applications.)
  • TTU is Air, Water, and C-Scan Capable
  • A-Scan Capable
  • Digital X-ray
  • Ultrasonic and Fluorescent Penetrant Testing (AASC can retrofit existing Ultrasonic C-Scan systems, design flexible multi-task scanners, or design and build specific purpose equipment for specialized applications.)

AASC NDT Personnel

  • One Level III UT/PT, ASNT Level III,
  • NAS 410 Employee
  • Two Level II UT/PT, NAS 410 Employees

Materials Testing

AASC has an on-site lab dedicated to materials testing as listed below.

Physical Materials Testing

  • Fiber volume
  • Void content
  • Resin content testing via acid digestion and furnace burn off of the resin matrix
  • Thermal property analysis via DSC or DMA techniques
  • Glass transition temperature testing via DSC or DMA techniques.

Mechanical Analysis

  • Performed by Instron Testing Machines, with a load capacity of up to 56,200 lbs.
  • Wide variety of Wyoming test fixtures utilized for ASTM testing.
  • Wide variety of testing techniques per ASTM and ISO test specifications listed below:
    - Tensile testing (strength and modulus)
    - Compression Testing (strength and modulus)
    - Interlaminar Shear
    - In-Plane Shear
    - Laminate Interlaminar Flatwise Strength
    - Flexure (strength and modulus)

Mechanical Analysis of Adhesives

  • Peel testing - Honeycomb peels, or metal-to-metal bonded sandwich structures
  • Lap Shear Testing - Tests the shear strength of adhesives and verifies the integrity of chemically cleaned and primed metal surfaces.
  • Wedge Durability Testing - Tests the durability of adhesive bonded structures Routinely performed when parts undergo
  • Phosphoric Acid Anodization

Chemical Testing

Solution and metal analysis via acid/base titrations and metal analysis via atomic absorption spectroscopy.

Thermal Cycle Testing

Thermal Cycle Testing serves as a way to check the levels of expansion and contraction on parts that will ultimately be subjected to varying temperature conditions. The chamber heats up and cools down to supplier requirement.

AASC has four Thermal Cycle Chambers onsite (two small, one medium, and one large). The two small thermal chambers can be placed on AASC mechanical test frame and allows for testing of mechanical properties at temperatures ranging from -250˚ F to +400˚F.

New Thermal Cycle Chamber (12’ x 15’ x 10’)
Temperatures Range: -300˚F to +400˚F

Medium Thermal Cycle Chamber (6‘8”x 5’8” x 3’8”)
Temperatures Range: -300˚F to +320˚F

Small Thermal Cycle Chamber (19” x 12” x 16”)
Temperatures Range: -250˚F to +400˚F