High-Performance Composites

NOV 2014

High-Performance Composites is read by qualified composites industry professionals in the fields of continuous carbon fiber and other high-performance composites as well as the associated end-markets of aerospace, military, and automotive.

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N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 4 | 1 5 NEWS NEWS N NASA announces two winners in "space taxi" competition Spacex and Boeing proceed to next stage, Sierra Nevada mounts protest ASA reported on Sept. 16 that it has selected The Boeing Co. (Houston, Texas) and SpaceX (Hawthorne, Calif.) to develop space- craft to transport U.S. crews to and from the International Space Station (ISS). Boeing was the big winner, awarded $4.2 billion to develop its CST-100 spacecraft (pictured here, near right). SpaceX was awarded a smaller amount, $2.6 billion, to develop its Crew Dragon spacecraft. Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC, Sparks, Nev.) and its Space Shuttle-like crew ship (far right), the Dream Chaser, was eliminated. The U.S. has not had a spacecraft of its own available to transport U.S. crews to the ISS since the Space Shuttle feet was retired in July 2011. Since then, NASA has relied on Russian-built craft to fer- ry its astronauts for space station duty. NASA administrator Charlie Bolden says, "Thanks to the leadership of Presi- dent Obama, the hard work of our NASA and industry teams, and support from Congress, today we are one step closer to launching our astronauts from U.S. soil in American spacecraft and ending the nation's sole reliance on Russia by 2017. Turning over low-Earth orbit trans- portation to private industry will also allow NASA to focus on an even more ambitious mission — sending humans to Mars." These Commercial Crew Transporta- tion Capability (CCtCap) contracts are designed to complete the NASA certif- cation for human space transportation systems capable of carrying people into orbit. The contracts with Boeing and SpaceX include at least one crewed fight test per company with at least one NASA astronaut aboard to verify that the fully integrated rocket and spacecraft system can launch, maneuver in orbit and dock to the space station and confrm that sys- tems perform as expected. If and when each company's test program is complet- ed successfully, it will conduct at least two to as many as six crewed missions to the space station. These spacecraft also will serve as a lifeboat for astronauts aboard the station. NASA's Commercial Crew Program will implement this capability as a pub- lic/private partnership. The U.S. mis- sions to the ISS will allow the station's current crew of six to grow, enabling its members to conduct more research aboard the unique microgravity labora- tory aboard the ISS. The companies will own and operate the crew transporta- tion systems and be able to sell human space transportation services to other customers in addition to NASA, thereby reducing the costs for all customers. In the wake of NASA's announcement, Sierra Nevada laid off 90 employees at its Denver, Colo.-area facility, and an- nounced on Sept. 26 that it has fled a formal legal challenge to the decision. Sierra Nevada noted in its press release that it had never before fled a legal chal- lenge to a government contract award, but believes there are serious questions about, and evidence of inconsistencies in, the source selection process. The company also indicated it is continuing its efforts on a number of commercial and international partnerships with oth- er space agencies and organizations. A company spokesperson also confrmed that a decision has been made to contin- ue the development of the Dream Chaser through to fight readiness. In our "Farnborough 2014 Airshow Report" published in the September 2014 issue of HPC (p. 46), the caption for the photo on that page stated that the Irkut (Moscow, Russia) MS-21 stabilizer skin on display at the show (and pic- tured in the photo) was fabricated with materials supplied by Cytec Industries (Woodland Park, N.J.). This is incorrect. Alexander Pashenkin, Irkut's chief tech- nologist, alerted HPC to the fact that material was, instead, HexPly M21 carbon fber prepreg, supplied by Hexcel (Stamford, Conn.). HPC regrets the error. Correction Source: Sierra Nevada Source: The Bowing Co.

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