Tianwen-1 probe, China’s first Mars exploration mission, lifted off and entered the planned orbit to start its journey of exploration, marking the first step of the country’s independent planetary exploration. According to sources from Southwest Aluminum (Group) of CHINALCO (Southwest Aluminum for short), a large number of aluminum products made by Chongqing are adopted on the Long March-5 Y4 carrier rocket to carry out the launch mission and Tianwen-1.
Southwest Aluminum has provided a variety of sophisticated aluminum materials such as stressed skin diaphragms, hand forgings, super-large plates, ring forgings, and aluminum-lithium alloy for the probe. The long journey of seven-month traveling in the space of Tianwen-1 and its incredibly complex land process requires a higher standard for performance indicators of aluminum alloy materials.
For instance, one of the aluminum alloy materials provided by the group is featured by the highest requirement in processing and technology. This alloy material is characterized by performances such as low density, high elastic modules, corrosion resistance, and weldability. However, it was produced only in a few countries due to its high technical requirements and challenging production.
The integral five-meter-diameter aluminum alloy ring forgings and several types of plates produced by the group are used in several key parts such as transition ring, adapter frame and storage box on the Long March-5 Y4 launcher, accounting for over 90% of the aluminum products required for the whole structure.
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