NASA Outreach Opportunity to Enable Future Exploration Missions

NASA needs an affordable, lightweight vehicle for greater payload capability to enable future exploration missions. Composite Cryotanks could lead to rocket propellant tanks that achieve greater than 30% weight savings and 25% cost savings compared to the state-of-the-art metal tanks. Under a contract to the Boeing Company the Composite Cryotank Technologies and Demonstration (CCTD) project has produced the largest automated fiber placement, out-of-autoclave, composite tank ever manufactured. The 2.4m composite cryotank represented a major element of the accelerated building block approach that has informed the design, fabrication and testing of the 5.5 meter article. The tank was shipped from Huntsville, Alabama to Kissimmee, Florida to be displayed within the Boeing booth as part of the Defense Manufacturing Conference (DMC) exhibit. The DMC is the premier national conference that brings together leaders from government, industry, and academia aimed at addressing advanced manufacturing technology. The conference has multiple sessions and panels where NASA has a long history with the conference sponsor – DOD MANTECH, and has significant ongoing technology interests and partnerships such as: Composites/Out-of Autoclave Composites; Metals; Digital Manufacturing; DARPA manufacturing; and the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII). This was an excellent public outreach opportunity for Boeing and NASA to disseminate the information about this exciting technology and start the dialog about future possible applications.

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