Digitrace’s Work Supports Next-Generation Vulcan Centaur Rocket

On October 5, 2021, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Vulcan Centaur completed its very first Pathfinder Tanking Test. During this operation, the rocket is fueled with liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquid oxygen (LO2). This is an important milestone for many reasons, including familiarizing the launch team with operating the advanced next-generation rocket. This milestone brings us one step closer to the historic launch of the Vulcan Centaur rocket.

Digitrace uses their large sized CNC mills to machine the fuel tank skins for the Vulcan Centaur rocket. This machining process reduces the weight of the rocket allowing for larger and/or heavier payloads to be taken to space. Through this work, Digitrace, supports exploration and National Security Space Launch (NSSL) missions by making space launch for important payloads possible.

A Vulcan Centaur V bulkhead is seen on the automated welder about to move to the next weld center. Photo Credit: United Launch Alliance

Vulcan Centaur is ULA’s next-generation, innovative new launch vehicle that provides higher performance, greater affordability and multi-manifesting flexibility while continuing to deliver unmatched reliability.

In 2020, Vulcan Centaur was competitively selected by the U.S. Space Force as the best value launch provider for 60 percent of the launches occurring through 2027. Last month, NASA’s Launch Services Program added the Vulcan Centaur to the NASA Launch Services II (NLS) indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract in accordance with the on-ramp provision of NLS II, deeming the rocket available to support future space exploration missions.

“Vulcan Centaur, a single core vehicle, will support challenging missions with unique second stage capabilities unmatched in the industry and we look forward to a continued partnership with NASA LSP and NSSL.” Tory Bruno, President and CEO of United Launch Alliance.

Digitrace Large CNC Machining is proud to do our part to support NASA and the U.S. Space Force by manufacturing for the Vulcan Centaur rocket.

ABOUT Digitrace

For 25 years Digitrace Large CNC Machining has been partnering with companies all over North America Founded in 1997, Digitrace is an ISO:9001 and ITAR certified CNC machine shop located in Wayland, Michigan. Our 23,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility has the capabilities to precisely machine large parts on one of our 14 mills. Digitrace’s customer list is made up of, but not limited to, companies who operate in the aerospace, defense and automotive industries. See if Digitrace is the right fit for your company by checking out our website for more information.


ULA is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider, with more than a century of combined heritage. ULA has successfully delivered more than 140 missions to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, deliver cutting-edge commercial services and enable GPS navigation.

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