Dynetics has successfully performed a proof and burst test of the Space Launch System (SLS) Advanced Booster Engineering Demonstration and/or Risk Reduction (ABEDRR) tank, verifying the structural design of the affordable booster concept. This work is part of a contract NASA awarded Dynetics in the fall of 2012 and is being performed in partnership with Aerojet Rocketdyne to reduce risks for advanced boosters that could help meet SLS's future capability needs.
Dynetics, the prime contractor on the ABEDRR contract, completed the design and fabrication of the full-scale cryogenic tank in late 2014. The tank is the largest flight-weight cryogenic tank built at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) since the Apollo Saturn era. It is an 18-foot diameter friction-stir welded aluminum structure weighing 10,000 pounds and composed of some of the thickest roll-formed material ever welded on MSFC's friction stir weld tools.
Following assembly, the team transported the tank to Dynetics' test facility in Iuka, Miss. Several tests were conducted to prove out the design and fabrication methods. The team started with a hydrostatic proof test (with water), followed by a proof test using cryogenic fluid, and finished with another hydrostatic proof and a planned burst test.
"We're very pleased with the results of all of the tests," said Andy Crocker, Dynetics SLS program manager. "All of the proof tests met our objectives, with the tank holding up well throughout. Then the burst, as exciting as that was, occurred at a pressure well above some conservative estimates and right about where we had predicted. All the results demonstrate that the tank design and build are more than solid."
The tank testing is part of 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.
Under the ABEDRR contract, in addition to Dynetics' structures accomplishments, Aerojet Rocketdyne has performed full-scale demonstrations to reduce risks for LOX/hydrocarbon rocket engine development.
"Our team continues to make significant progress on risk reduction activities for NASA's Space Launch System and other future launch vehicles," said Dynetics CEO David King. "This latest activity further demonstrates that the Dynetics team offers affordable options to meet future exploration needs. We look forward to continuing to work on the ABEDRR project for NASA, as well as providing support to Boeing on the core and upper stages of SLS."
This announcement was made during the Space & Missile Defense Symposium at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville.