NASA engineers have assessed a Boeing-built cryogenic fuel tank in a series of tests that simulated the physical stresses a rocket experiences during launch.
Testing on the 5.5-meter composite cryotank occurred inside a platform at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, NASA said Tuesday.
â€œThis is the culmination of a three-year effort to design and build a large high-performance tank with new materials and new processes and to test it under extreme conditions,â€ said John Vickers, NASA program manager for the Composite Cryogenic Technology Demonstration Project.
He added the agency aims to decrease rocket tank weight by 30 percent and cut development costs by at least 25 percent through the program.
During the tests, engineers put 30,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen in the tank at a temperature of 423 degrees Fahrenheit and then applied pressure ranging between 20 and 53 pounds per square inch.
â€œNever before has a tank of this size been proven to sustain the thermal environment of liquid hydrogen at these pressures,â€ said Dan Rivera, Boeing program manager for the cryotank project.
A Super Guppy cargo aircraft carried the rocket cryogenic tank to Marshall facility on March 26, according to NASA.