Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Five... Four.... Three... Two... One... Hey it's me Destin, welcome back to Smarter Every Day I love rockets If you've been around this channel, you know that about me and today is like the best day ever because we're going to learn how to build rockets. Just down the road from Huntsville, Alabama there's a city named Decatur. And in that city, there is a rocket factory owned by a company called United Launch Alliance, and that factory has been cranking out incredibly reliable rockets for years. Because these orbital rockets have some of the same technologies in them as ballistic missiles, the knowledge about how to build them is protected. In the United States we have a set of regulations called ITAR International Traffic in Arms Regulations Because of ITAR, nobody's going to let you walk into a rocket plant with a camera and film things. They can't risk that stuff getting out and breaking the law. So there has to be an incredible amount of trust between the parties that want to film things, and the people that own the plant. Thankfully, I was given the opportunity to build that trust with ULA, when I went and watched the launch of the Parker Solar Probe, and I met the CEO of ULA on the launchpad. If you haven't heard of this guy, Tory Bruno, then you're in for a treat. He's a legitimate rocket scientist who know his stuff inside and out. It was at this launch that Tory and I built trust with each other. Like, this guy is the real deal. The tour we're about to go on has never been done on the internet, Tory literally takes us right up to the line of what he can show us, and all along the way he's answering my technical questions, and he's letting me explore the factory. So here we go, let's take the first ever online tour of the United Launch Alliance rocket factory in Decatur, Alabama, with the CEO of ULA. Tory Bruno. Okay, we've got Tory, mic'd up now, -Hi! and you're gonna show me the rockets that are - Yes, yeah fabricated at this facility? What do we have? Okay, so we've got an Atlas V on the side, this is kind of our workhorse, and it's in the five meter payload fairing configuration. So that's what we're talking about here, it also has its SRB's on the side, which is sort of its maximum lift version. When it's got all five of those, we call it the beast. - And this is the Delta IV Heavy, and this is what you--thank you again, for letting me -Yeah, of course participate, or at least see the Parker Solar Probe Yeah, that was fun huh -And that's fabricated here in Decatur? Yes, yeah so three core rocket, you know literally literally three rockets kind of bolted together, and it is our largest rocket; it's physically the largest rocket in the world right now, and it is what we used for Parker Solar Probe. -And this is what I want to talk about, -Yeaaaaah this is Vulcan, and this rocket has never flown. Never flown, not yet. And you're going to see, the first flight vehicle hardware in the factory being fabricated when we go in there today. -Today -Yeah Okay! -So this is our brand new rocket, you can think of it as kind of a derivative of those two in a way, so it'll be large 5.4 meter diameter, so a little bit bigger than Delta, it can take six SRB's, it's a huge cavernous payload volume for the spacecraft, and this rocket has 30% more lift capability than this big three-core monster. -So when you say six SRB's... Six of them, yeah. -And that's just to get out of the Earth's gravity well Yes, right, exactly. -Can we go see the stuff? Yeah, let's go see it. Okay, we're at a rocket factory, let's do it. -We're gonna peel off to the right here Okay Okay I'm seeing the grid here Yeah, so this is a barrel section from the booster over your head, actually from an Atlas. And I'm going to walk you down to the end of the factory where this first gets made; it's the first thing we do Raw stock comes in the back door, gets machined, puts this curve in it, and then we'll walk you all the way through to a completed version. -That's awesome Okay, so there's something unique about the north Alabama area here, correct me if I'm wrong, but there's a little triangle: there's a nuclear power station, there's a steel mill, -Yes and there's also a rocket factory like in a triangle. -That's true And then you got a river running between them -Yup and so you can bring in steel, you can make a rocket using the power from the nuclear plant, -Yes is that why you're here? That's part of why we're here, but it's also because of the talent that we have here with University of Alabama and the other Alabama universities and the technician programs they have here; you just get an awesome workforce. And with the river, which is only a mile from here down Red Hat Road, we have the dock for our rocket ship, so we can transport our rockets out to the launchpad. This is the rocketship Tory's talking about; ya see? Says so right on the side: "Rocketship. Rocketship navigates its way through several rivers up to the Mississippi River, down to the Gulf of Mexico, and then it heads to whatever pad the rockets will launch from. You should come back sometime and do the ship. Yeah, I should ride on the ship. Is that a thing? -Yeah Can you do that? -Yes that is a thing Okay we're getting on a golf cart, and we have to cut cameras because we're going to pass uh, not "secret stuff", but things we can't film. Right? -Right Okay, cutting the camera off Ok we're on the golf cart, and I've obtained permission to film straight up so you can't see "that" which is pretty neat. Ok so, I can't talk about that right now, can I No, we can't show it to you, but I can tell you what it is That's a Delta payload fairing so one of the smaller versions of the Delta's payload fairing and then you're passing by a heat shield here that would protect the RS-68 engine, from its own plume during flight. Ok... this is almost emotional. I mean, you know what it's like to sit in class and study this stuff, -Oh yeah, sure and then... cause you went to Cal Poly right? Right. Yeah, so this is me looking at all the stuff I've learned about and finally getting to see it. It's on thing to see it on the pad, but uh it's almost like a holy experience. Yeah well, you're inside where it's actually happening, where it all gets put together. Okay I'm starting to get the smell of the machine shop, the manufacturing, the cooling oil, -Yep smell. -You got it It's my understanding you're about to show me how to build a rocket from scratch. Yes I am. Okay, excellent, so we're going to the door, right? Yes we are Okay this is what I wanted to see, here at ULA: This is the door. I can't even get--it's a wide angle lens--so that's the door where the material comes in, right? -Right That's where the raw aluminum plate and other materials come in, and then this is the receiving area, and as they move that way turn into a rocket. So we're about to build a rocket by going that way in the plant. Exactly. -Okay, I'm game let's do this. Alright let's do it. And this is an active manufacturing facility, so you're just going to have to deal with the audio, there's a lot of tools running. Yeah, sorry about that, but, ya know, building rockets. It's good Oh wow, that is... that is really--can I go touch that? Yeah yeah, absolutely. This is a very, very expensive, piece--is that aluminum or stainless?