Composite Cryotank Loaded into Test Stand at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

boeing_composite_tank_test_stand
Boeing composite cryogenic tank loaded on test stand. (Credit: NASA/MSFC)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — Engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, recently began the first in a series of tests of one of the largest composite cryotanks ever built. The 18-foot-diameter (5.5-meter) cylinder-shaped tank was lowered into a structural test stand at the Marshall Center.

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Boeing’s Composite Tank Could Greatly Improve Launch Vehicles

One of the largest composite rocket propellant tanks ever manufactured is prepared for transport on NASA’s Super Guppy airplane. (Credit: Boeing)
One of the largest composite rocket propellant tanks ever manufactured is prepared for transport on NASA’s Super Guppy airplane. (Credit: Boeing)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — For more than 50 years, metal tanks have carried fuel to launch rockets and propel them into space, but one of the largest composite tanks ever manufactured may change all that. This spring, that tank–known as the composite cryotank–is set to undergo a series of tests at extreme pressures and temperatures similar to those experienced during spaceflight.

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NASA Advanced Space Technology in 2013

NASA Ames engineers are building PhoneSats, demonstrating how "off the shelf" consumer devices can lead to new space exploration capabilities. (Credit:  NASA Ames Research Center/Dominic Hart)
NASA Ames engineers are building PhoneSats, demonstrating how “off the shelf” consumer devices can lead to new space exploration capabilities. (Credit:
NASA Ames Research Center/Dominic Hart)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) made major strides in 2013, pioneering new technologies and capabilities that added breadth to NASA’s tool kit, aiding current and future missions.

The directorate is engaged in nine major technology development programs that are underway at each of NASA’s ten field centers located across the United States.

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NASA Announces Advanced Composite Research Partnership

Boeing composite tank
Boeing composite tank

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected six companies from five U.S. states to participate in a government-and-industry partnership to advance composite materials research and certification.

The companies are:

  • Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas
  • GE Aviation of Cincinnati
  • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company of Palmdale, Calif.
  • Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems of Redondo Beach, Calif.
  • Boeing Research & Technology of St. Louis
  • United Technologies Corporation and subsidiary Pratt & Whitney of Hartford, Conn.

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Boeing Develops Game-Changing Composite Propellant Tank

Credit: NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — A 2.4-meter-diameter propellant tank made of composite materials arrived on Nov. 20, 2012 at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., where engineers are preparing it for testing.

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Video: A Closer Look at AdamsWorks

A closer look at AdamsWorks, a Colorado company that is building the cockpit for XCOR’s Lynx space plane and the fuselage for Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser shuttle.

This Week at NASA Video

Barbara Mikulski visits Wallops to get an update on Antares, the first Orion capsule is prepped at Michoud, Langley conducts experiments on a composite capsule, Charles Bolden is presented with an award, and much more.

Composite Crew Module Undergoes Vacuum Testing at Marshall

The Composite Crew Module being rolled into the vacuum chamber at Marshall's Environmental Test Facility. The test will continue through the end of the summer. (Credit: NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given)

Huntsville, Ala. (NASA PR — This week, engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., moved a Composite Crew Module (CCM) into the Environmental Test Facility vacuum chamber to gauge how well a space structure fabricated with composite materials will react in a simulated space environment. Data gained during this test series will aid in the design and development of future in-space composite habitable structures.

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Former SpaceX Composites Director Lands at AC&A

LAKE FOREST, Calif., June 18, 2012 (AC&A PR) — AC&A is pleased to announce the appointment of the former director of composites at SpaceX, Steve Smith, to manager of composite manufacturing.

In his role at AC&A, Smith will be responsible for all composite operations including driving the current development of the composite manufacturing facility, recruiting and employing a team of composite technicians whom he will oversee. Smith will also be involved in the day-to-day communications, process and development of composite projects and technical life cycles with AC&A’s valued clients.

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NASA to Announce Composite Cryotank Contractor

NASA PR — WASHINGTON — NASA will hold a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Sept. 20, to announce the company that will lead the agency’s Composite Cryotank Technologies Demonstration effort.

The selected company will design and manufacture two lightweight composite cryogenic propellant tanks. The demonstration effort will use advanced composite materials and manufacturing techniques to develop new technologies that could be applied to multiple future NASA missions, including human space exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The Composite Cryotank Technologies Demonstration effort is part of NASA’s Space Technology Program.

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NASA SBIR Contract to Fund XCOR Composite Fuel Tank Development

XCOR's Lynx suborbital vehicle

NASA recently announced that it would be conducting contract negotiations for 350 projects under its SBIR and STTR programs, which are aimed at promoting space technology development by small businesses. Parabolic Arc will be looking at a number of the proposals involving NewSpace companies that it regularly covers or which encompass interesting technologies.

COMPANY:XCOR
LOCATION:Mojave, Calif.
PROPOSAL TITLE:Cryogenic Composite Tank Fabrication for Reusable Launch Vehicles
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Advanced Composite Tank and Materials Technologies

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT

XCOR has conducted extensive research and development, and material characterization analysis of a nonflammable, high-strength, lightweight thermoplastic fluoropolymer composite material, trademarked NonburniteTM, which is suitable for making reusable, reliable, low cost cryogenic tanks and structures for space flight service.

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