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Materials & Assembly

Composites Boost Vega Satellite Launcher

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3drob
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airborn pollutants
3drob   3/23/2012 9:47:46 AM
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Do these materials pose a risk once made airborn?  Carbon fibers are certainly more dangerous than other materials (biologically) so if they atomize they may cause issues. 

But even as a bulk material, will carbon fibers simply burn up or remain as a large object falling to earth and pose a blunt object risk?

Charles Murray
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Re: The whole thing?
Charles Murray   3/22/2012 6:21:58 PM
Ann, do we know what's changed here? Why weren't composites used previously in launchers and what material qualities are enabling them to be used now?

TJ McDermott
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Re: The whole thing?
TJ McDermott   3/22/2012 3:42:23 PM
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I'd be interested to learn if the range-safety package had to be scaled up or down for the material change.  The range-safety package is (usually) an explosive designed to rip open the booster in a controlled manner in case of loss of control.  This permits the propellant to burn at altitude and at zero pressure (instead of in the thrust chamber).

Is it easier or more difficult to split the side of a composite booster?

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: The whole thing?
Ann R. Thryft   3/22/2012 12:43:36 PM
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naperlou, I was also surprised to see composites in a launcher. It just goes to show how tough carbon fiber composites can be. The fact that Vega has already completed its maiden flight says a lot.


naperlou
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The whole thing?
naperlou   3/22/2012 9:31:52 AM
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Wow!  I have many years experience in the aerospace industry.  I have seen composites used, long ago, for upper stages, which operate in space.  I have not seen that done for the while launcher.  It should not be suprising considering what is being done for aircraft.  This is really interesting and a real breakthrough.

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