|TenCate develop a special heat-resistant composite resin for the 16.5' (5 m) diameter heat shield, which was fabricated out of autoclave.|
Heat-resistant composites developed for the Lockheed Martin Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle, which was launched in early December, replace the traditional titanium solution for re-entry and splashdown requirements while saving weight and cost. The composite heat shield design allows very large composite structures to be fabricated out of autoclave.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Orion thermal protection group worked closely with TenCate Advanced Composites North America, Morgan Hill, Calif., to develop the special heat-resistant composite resin for the 16.5' (5 m) diameter heat shield and the crew vehicle backshell structure of the Orion space capsule.
“The flight represents the culmination of a five-year development and qualification effort for a suite of materials used in this extreme application. Further, as a result of the heat shield's large size and thickness, the advanced composites used had to achieve high consolidation using only a low pressure vacuum bag only process. TenCate is honored to be one of Lockheed's partners on this important space program,” says Steve Mead, vice president of marketing & sales at TenCate Advanced Composites.