Headlines > News > Andrews Space Delivers Composite Liquid Oxygen Tank to the Air Force Research Lab

Andrews Space Delivers Composite Liquid Oxygen Tank to the Air Force Research Lab

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:52 am via: source
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Cape Canaveral, FL, (Andrews Space) – Andrews Space Inc. (Andrews) delivered a 48 inch diameter composite liquid oxygen (LOX) tank to the United States Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) to demonstrate technologies for reusable launch vehicle airframe structures.  The Pathfinder experiment is being conducted under AFRL’s Future-Responsive Access to Space Technologies (FAST) Program.  Andrews delivered the tank under contract FA8650-06-C-7615 and worked in conjunction with the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI), who served as Prime on the Project.

The Pathfinder experiment utilizes a test fixture and composite cryogenic LOX tank with integrated air frame structural support members.  The goal of the program is to better understand the capabilities of composite cryogenic tanks and to develop methods to predict failure modes in these tanks. To accomplish that goal, the LOX tank, which measures 48 inches in diameter and 105 inches in length, will be subjected to flight loads under a range of thermal conditions. Testing will occur over the next several months at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Composite Liquid Oxygen (LOX) Tank

Composite Liquid Oxygen (LOX) Tank

The testing will be used to evaluate material properties and expand the operational database on composite cryogenic tanks, which supports the development of responsive launch capabilities under the US Air Force Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) program. The full-scale tank testing builds on subscale testing performed at Andrews’ facility near Seattle, WA in 2008.  Andrews used the subscale testing results to verify its analytical models, update its design for the full-scale tank, and establish test criteria.  Microcosm Inc., a supplier to Andrews, fabricated the full-scale tank.

“We are honored that the Air Force Research Lab selected Andrews to partner on the FAST Pathfinder tank technology program,” said Jason Andrews, President of Andrews Space.  “The test data generated will lead to a new era of lower cost space transportation.”

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