NASA Tests Lightweight Composite Cryotank from Boeing – Satellite Today

NASA Boeing Launch

NASA’s lightweight cryotank, built by Boeing. Photo: NASA

[Via Satellite 08-29-2014] NASA has completed an extensive set of tests on a new large 5.5-meter diameter composite cryogenic fuel tank. Built by Boeing, the lightweight tank is being evaluated for use on rockets.

Engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. simulated the physical stresses experienced during launch by applying structural loads to the tank. The engineers also repeatedly cycled the pressure to the test limits at 20 and 53 pounds per square inch after filling the tank with close to 30,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen chilled to -423 degrees Fahrenheit.

“This is the type of technology that can improve competitiveness for the entire U.S. launch industry, not to mention other industries that want to replace heavy metal components with lightweight composites,” said Michael Gazarik, NASA’s associate administrator for space technology.

“We are a step closer to demonstrating in flight a technology that could reduce the weight of rocket tanks by 30 percent and cut costs by at least 25 percent,” added John Vickers, project manager for the Composite Cryogenic Technology Demonstration Project.

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