NASA has interest in applying thin ply technology in various programs including the Composite Cryotank Technologies and Demonstration (CCTD) project. The Boeing Company was contracted to design, analyze, and manufacture the large composite cryotanks for testing at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. An automated placement system was utilized to place thick and thin prepreg plies with final consolidation using out-of-autoclave processing (OOA). The approach has the potential to reduce cost by 25% and weight by 30 percent compared to existing aluminum-lithium propellant tanks.
The general approach and specific technologies developed in this STTR can also be applied to other military platforms and commercial applications (aerospace, automotive, wind etc). These applications may require additional material testing and R&D to meet certifications and particular application requirements.