Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Space Station To Get "Boost" From Stronger, Lighter Alloy -- NASA Completes Purchase Of Material For 60 Shuttle External Tanks

Date:
April 30, 1999
Source:
Marshall Space Flight Center
Summary:
NASA and Lockheed Martin have completed negotiations for a $625.6 million contract to build 60 lightweight external tanks for the Space Shuttle

NASA and Lockheed Martin Michoud Space Systems, of New Orleans, La., have completednegotiations on a contract worth $625.6 million for the final purchase of materials needed tobuild 60 new Space Shuttle external fuel tanks.

"Together, with two earlier purchases of materials and equipment, we now have everythingwe need to build our sixth production order of external tanks for the Space Shuttle Program,"said Parker Counts, manager of the External Tank Project Office at NASA's Marshall SpaceFlight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

This sixth purchase of tanks will be the first comprised totally of Super Lightweight Tanks.This newest version of the tank is the same size as the previous Lightweight Tank design,but weighs approximately 7,500 pounds less. Its liquid hydrogen tank and the liquid oxygentank are made of a new aluminum lithium alloy, a lighter - but 30 percent stronger - materialthan the previous aerospace aluminum alloy used for the Lightweight Tank.

The lighter tank allows the Shuttle to deliver various elements of the International SpaceStation - such as the Unity module launched last December - into the proper orbit.

NASA has purchased a total of 119 external tanks. To date, 93 have been flown. The last ofthe fifth production order is scheduled to be delivered in August 2001.

Production of the new order of tanks will start in 2000 at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facilityin New Orleans, with the first one scheduled for delivery to the agency's Kennedy SpaceCenter, Fla., in 2002.

"It takes about 20 to 22 months to build a tank once the purchased materials are received atthe factory," Counts said. "The first tank of this new order will fly probably in 2002. This buyshould carry the Shuttle program well into the next century."

"The Super Lightweight Tank has been a challenging tank to produce," Counts said. "But,as we expected, the initial cost to produce it has come down as our government/industryteam gains experience and makes improvements to our manufacturing equipment andprocesses."

Measuring 154 feet tall and 27.5 feet in diameter, the external tank is the largest singleelement of the Space Shuttle. During launch, the tank also acts as the structural backbonefor the Shuttle orbiter and solid rocket boosters attached to it.

The external tank holds the liquid hydrogen fuel and liquid oxygen oxidizer for the Shuttle'sthree main engines. The tank is the only part of the Shuttle not reused. After its 526,000gallons of propellants are consumed during the first eight and one-half minutes of flight, it isjettisoned from the orbiter and breaks up in the upper atmosphere, its pieces falling intoremote ocean waters.

The Super Lightweight Tank made its first flight in June 1998 on the STS-91 mission.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Marshall Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Marshall Space Flight Center. "Space Station To Get "Boost" From Stronger, Lighter Alloy -- NASA Completes Purchase Of Material For 60 Shuttle External Tanks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990429100322.htm>.
Marshall Space Flight Center. (1999, April 30). Space Station To Get "Boost" From Stronger, Lighter Alloy -- NASA Completes Purchase Of Material For 60 Shuttle External Tanks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990429100322.htm
Marshall Space Flight Center. "Space Station To Get "Boost" From Stronger, Lighter Alloy -- NASA Completes Purchase Of Material For 60 Shuttle External Tanks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990429100322.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Hyped-Up Big Bang Discovery Has A Dust Problem

The Hyped-Up Big Bang Discovery Has A Dust Problem

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) An analysis of new satellite data casts serious doubt on a previous study about the Big Bang that was once hailed as revolutionary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Has Finally Reached Mars

NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Has Finally Reached Mars

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) After a 10-month voyage through space, NASA's MAVEN spacecraft is now orbiting the Red Planet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A SpaceX Rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, carrying a custom-built 3-D printer into space. NASA envisions astronauts one day using the printer to make their own spare parts. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
SpaceX Cargo Ship Blasts Off Toward Space Station

SpaceX Cargo Ship Blasts Off Toward Space Station

AFP (Sep. 21, 2014) SpaceX's unmanned Dragon cargo ship blasts off toward the International Space Station, carrying a load of supplies and science experiments for the astronauts living there. Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins