Application of Advanced Grid-Stiffened Structures Technology to the Minotaur Payload Fairing
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB KIRTLAND AFB NM SPACE VEHICLES DIRECTORATE
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The Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate AFRLVS is exploring new structural configurations and corresponding methods for fabricating launch vehicle fairings. The goal of this research is to reduce the cost of these components while also enabling large structures to be fabricated. Processes for fabricating Advanced Grid Stiffened AGS composite structures have been developed that show promise to help achieve these goals. These procedures were successfully demonstrated in an AGS fairing for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organizations BMDO Combined Experiments Program. Currently, AFRLVS has joined with Boeings Phantom Works and Orbital Sciences Corp OSC to develop an extended fairing for the Orbital Suborbital Programs Minotaur launch vehicle. The design methods, fabrication procedures, and testing plans used to develop this fairing will be discussed.
- Structural Engineering and Building Technology
- Unmanned Spacecraft