Aerospace and defense manufacturer Alliant Techsystems (ATK, Minneapolis, Minn.) announced on Oct. 14 that it had delivered to NASA a full-scale crew module structure made of composite materials. Dubbed the Composite Crew Module (CCM), the unique, all-composite capsule design mimics the conventional (40-percent composite) Orion capsule design currently scheduled to fly initial missions during NASA’s pending Constellation Moon/Mars program. According to ATK, the CCM has the potential to reduce the overall weight of future manned launch vehicles.
Full-scale structural testing will be performed at NASA’s Langley Research Center to determine the strength and viability of the composite structure. During the destructive testing, the CCM will be placed under load conditions similar to those observed during launch, on-orbit, landing and abort scenarios.
“We have applied our innovative engineering and manufacturing capabilities to help the CCM team build a cutting-edge, composite space structure,” says Jack Cronin, president, ATK Mission Systems. “We demonstrated our ability to perform as a partner and deliver an advanced composite structure that’s never been built for NASA.”