Artist's concept of a composite cryotank model.
The Composite Cryotank Technologies Demonstration (CCTD) effort will use advanced composite materials to develop new technologies that could be applied to multiple future NASA missions, including human space exploration beyond low Earth orbit.
In September 2011, NASA selected The Boeing Company of Huntington Beach, Calif., for the CCTD effort. Under the contract, Boeing will design, manufacture and test two lightweight composite cryogenic propellant tanks.
"The goal of this technology demonstration effort is to achieve a 30 percent weight savings and a 25 percent cost savings from traditional metallic tanks," said the Director of NASA's Space Technology Program, Michael Gazarik at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Weight savings alone would allow us to increase our upmass capability, which is important when considering payload size and cost. This state-of-the-art technology has applications for multiple stakeholders in the rocket propulsion community."
The tanks incorporate design features and new manufacturing processes applicable to designs up to 10 meters in diameter. Tanks could be used on future heavy-lift vehicles, in-space propellant depots and other Earth-departure exploration architectures.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Hunstville, Ala., will lead the project with support from NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland; NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.; and NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The composite cryogenic tank effort is part of the Space Technology Game Changing Development Program, managed by the Office of the Chief Technologist.
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