Dynetics successfully moved its full-scale, flight-weight cryogenic tank from NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) facilities to the Dynetics test facility in Iuka, Miss., on Thursday, March 12, 2015. Dynetics designed and fabricated the tank for the Space Launch System (SLS) Advanced Booster Engineering Demonstration and/or Risk Reduction (ABEDRR) contract. The Dynetics team will test the tank in Iuka to verify that its structural design and manufacturing processes meet all requirements.
The cryogenic tank is an 18-foot diameter aluminum structure that weighs more than 10,000 pounds. It was assembled on NASA MSFC's friction stir weld tools.
According to Andy Crocker, program manager for the Dynetics SLS program, technicians and engineers are currently preparing the tank for testing at the Mississippi test site. The testing will include hydrostatic proof and also cryothermal testing with liquid nitrogen, which will simulate liquid oxygen conditions.
NASA awarded the ABEDRR contract in the fall of 2012. Dynetics, the prime contractor, partnered with Aerojet Rocketdyne to perform a wide-ranging set of risk reduction activities and system-level demonstrations that support NASA's goal of enabling competition on an affordable booster that meets the evolved capabilities of the SLS.
Crocker said, "Working with flight-like hardware of this size is exciting. Completion of the testing will verify Dynetics' affordable structures concept. The first step was completing the tank assembly in the fall. Testing under relevant conditions will further prove the approach and the build."
In addition to Dynetics' tank structure accomplishments, team member Aerojet Rocketdyne has performed full-scale demonstrations to reduce risks for LOX/hydrocarbon rocket engine development, demonstrating the team's ability to offer affordable options for space exploration, Crocker said.
For more information, visit the NASA website.