TenCate material part of successful Orion capsule test

The recent test launch of the Orion capsule showed that the composite heat shield and backshell structure, which replaced traditional titanium, worked flawlessly.

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TenCate Advanced Composites North America (Morgan Hill, CA, US), a composite materials supplier for space and aerospace applications, has developed and provided heat-resistant composites that were used for the heat shield and backshell structure of the Lockheed Martin Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle, successfully launched this week as part of a test. A suite of advanced composite materials from TenCate replaces the traditional titanium metal solution for re-entry and splashdown requirements, which saved weight and cost. In addition, the composite heat shield design allowed the very large composite structures to be fabricated out-of-autoclave.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Orion thermal protection group worked closely with TenCate Advanced Composites to develop a special heat resistant composite resin for the 5 meter-diameter heat shield and the crew vehicle backshell structure on Orion. Read CompositesWorld's Focus on Design story about the Orion design and fabrication here: http://www.compositesworld.com/articles/orion-re-entry-system-composites-displace-metal.

The successful launch this week of the NASA's Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle represents the efforts, innovation and teamwork of many individuals and companies involved. Steve Mead, vice president TenCate Advanced Composites says "This week's 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."

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