NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) and Lightweight Structures and Materials PT are leading advancements to affordable space exploration. This includes beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO) space exploration requiring innovative lightweight and multifunctional structure concepts. Conformal designs offer enabling mass and volume efficiencies and, multifunctional potential. Steelhead Composites (SHC; Golden CO) – a domestic leader in composite pressure vessel manufacture – will leverage capabilities in design, test, build and manufacture to realize conformal pressure vessels for cryogenic liquid storage and/or as habitable cavities. SHC ultralightweight, all composite (Type V) pressure vessel (> 30% mass reduction) are planned as manufacture-friendly products to efficiently fill non-traditional geometric volume and, serve to influence future spacecraft designs (e.g., lunar landers, Mars landers, habitat modules and ascent vehicles). This program will develop structural design concept studies (Phase I), including a manufacturing assessment and a systems benefits examination, to realize mass, volume and cost savings for deep space exploration. In Phase II, pressure vessels will be fabricated and evaluated, on a scale that is representative of full-scale manufacturing. All efforts will be performed to realize commercial products, for fabrication according to SHC’ AS9100 and ISO14001 (environmental) standards.
Conformal designs offer enabling mass and volume efficiencies and, multifunctional potential that are applicable to NASA applications. Conformal ultra lightweight, all composite (Type V) pressure vessel designs will serve to influence future spacecraft designs including, for example, lunar landers, Mars landers, habitat modules and ascent vehicles.
Conformal designs offer enabling mass and volume efficiencies and, multifunctional potential that are also applicable to non-NASA applications. Nearly all transportation applications would benefit from fuel storage containers that offer increased energy efficiencies. For example, pressure vessels that can store more hydrogen at minimum mass are highly desirable to the automotive industry.