Headlines > News > ATK Delivers A High-Tech First to NASA - A Crew Module Structure Made of Composite Materials

ATK Delivers A High-Tech First to NASA - A Crew Module Structure Made of Composite Materials

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:52 am via: source
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(ATK) – ATK’s Innovative Engineering and Manufacturing Expertise Produces Lightweight Composite Structure for Evaluation
ATK’s Composite Crew Module to Undergo Structural Testing by NASAMINNEAPOLIS — Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK) has delivered a technological first to NASA: a full-scale, crew module structure made of composite materials. The Composite Crew Module (CCM) is a unique capsule design that has the potential to reduce the overall weight of future manned launch vehicles.

Composite structures reduce launch costs through weight savings and are presently used on a variety of space launch vehicles and aerospace structures. However, the CCM is unique in that it was specifically designed and built to resemble a space capsule. Full-scale structural testing will be performed at NASA’s Langley Research Center to determine the strength and viability of the composite structure. During the destructive testing, the CCM will be placed under load conditions similar to those observed during launch, on-orbit, landing, and abort scenarios.

Led by the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC), ATK was part of a team of NASA and industry experts who designed and fabricated the CCM to demonstrate how composite materials could be used to develop a pressurized space capsule. ATK is a major composite manufacturer and supplier for modern military and commercial aircraft, and space launch vehicles. ATK provided composites design, analysis, manufacturing and assembly expertise for the CCM program.

“ATK has decades of experience in building composite structures for launch vehicles, military aircraft, and most recently commercial aircraft such as the Airbus A350,” Jack Cronin, President, ATK Mission Systems. “We have applied our innovative engineering and manufacturing capabilities to help the CCM team build a cutting-edge, composite space structure. We demonstrated our ability to perform, partner and deliver an advanced composite structure that’s never been built for NASA.”

Fabricated and assembled at ATK’s Iuka, Miss. facility, the CCM combines some of the most advanced composite manufacturing technologies in use today. Constructed in two primary sections, the upper and lower shells are joined together with a splice joint and cured using out-of-autoclave technology. The bonding of the composite assemblies and integration of metal hardware were achieved by combining existing technology and ATK’s innovative manufacturing processes.

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