NASA Rocket Roll Out

Hilman Custom Cradle & Radius Rollers integrate seamlessly into NASA's launch system for new deep-space rocket.


Hilman engineering was tasked with developing multiple custom roller products for integration into NASA’s new rocket fuselage transport. By having two separate modular transports supporting the fuselage there was a need to decouple the forces generated by roll, pitch and yaw during maneuvering. In addition, the trailing transport needed to allow for axial translation to minimize any external tensile/compression forces acting on the fuselage.

Hilman’s engineering team designed a chain action roller specifically shaped to cradle the outer fuselage shell bands and allow for low friction rotational freedom. Low friction was critical to minimize any external loading being transmitted to the fuselage. The cradle roller’s chain incorporated our keyway roll technology which offers the longest life and least rolling resistance. Additionally, the cradle roller’s frame housed a spherical bearing keyed precisely to permit pitch of the fuselage during movement with elevation changes. This bearing was also treated with a low-friction sliding material to allow for translational movement along the axis of the support pins.

A second chain action roller product, the radius roller, was utilized in the base of each transport to handle the yaw component. A series of radius rollers were staged in a circular pattern providing support to the cradle structure while allowing rotation about the vertical axis.

Old Hilman roller

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Hilman engineers discussing custom solutions
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