Chapter 24. Technology Needs and Applications for Composites on Earth-to-Orbit Transports

  1. William J. Smothers
  1. I. O. MacConochie1,
  2. R. W. Le Messurier2 and
  3. E. P. Brien2

Published Online: 26 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470291092.ch24

Proceedings of the 5th Annual Conference on Composites and Advanced Ceramic Materials: Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, Volume 2, Issue 7/8

Proceedings of the 5th Annual Conference on Composites and Advanced Ceramic Materials: Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, Volume 2, Issue 7/8

How to Cite

MacConochie, I. O., Le Messurier, R. W. and Brien, E. P. (1981) Technology Needs and Applications for Composites on Earth-to-Orbit Transports, in Proceedings of the 5th Annual Conference on Composites and Advanced Ceramic Materials: Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, Volume 2, Issue 7/8 (ed W. J. Smothers), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9780470291092.ch24

Author Information

  1. 1

    NASA-Langley Research Center Hampton, Va. 23665

  2. 2

    Kentron International, Hampton Technical Center Hampton, Va. 23666

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 MAR 2008
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1981

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470373903

Online ISBN: 9780470291092

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Keywords:

  • polyimide;
  • composites;
  • configurations;
  • honeycomb;
  • semimonocoque

Summary

To improve the payload fraction of advanced transportation systems, structurally efficient lightweight materials must be utilized. In this paper, technology needs and design applications for composite materials on such advanced Earth-to-orbit transports are identified. The vehicle used for illustrative purposes is a single-stage system designed to deliver shuttle class payloads to low Earth orbit. The major portion of the structure is graphite-polyimide protected by a reusable surface insulation. The nose cap and wing leading edges contain heat pipes that are fabricated from reinforced superalloy composites. Possible applications for composites on internal body structures and rocket engine components are also identified. Through aggressive use of these advanced composites, a reduction in vehicle structural weight of 26% is projected.