Following successful tests, Boeing says its space-focused composite cryogenic fuel tank is ready to use

Feb. 7, 2022
Going beyond spaceflight, Boeing says the technology will inform the company’s ongoing studies of hydrogen as a potential future energy pathway for commercial aviation.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Boeing Company in Chicago has announced a successful series of tests with its new space-focused cryogenic fuel tank.

The tests of the 14-foot diameter composite tank took place at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Marshall Flight Space Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Boeing says the composite tank is similar in size to the fuel tanks intended for use in the upper stage of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which the agency will use in NASA's Artemis lunar and deep space exploration program.

“Composites are the next major technological advancement for large aerospace cryogenic storage structures,” said Boeing Composite Cryotank Manufacturing Lead Carlos Guzman. “And while they can be challenging to work with, they offer significant advantages over traditional metallic structures. Boeing has the right mix of experience, expertise and resources to continue to advance this technology and bring it to market in a variety of applications across aerospace and aeronautics.”

During the testing, which was funded by DARPA and Boeing, engineers from Boeing and NASA filled the vessel with cryogenic fluid in multiple test cycles, pressurizing the tank to expected operational loads and beyond. In the final test, which intended to push the tank to failure, pressures reached 3.75 times the design requirements without any major structural failure.

“NASA’s support through this testing has been invaluable,” said Boeing Test Program Manager Steve Wanthal. “We were able to use their technical expertise and investments made in the testing infrastructure at the Marshall Space Flight Center to continue to advance this technology, which will ultimately benefit the entire industry.”

About the Author

Jamie Whitney

Jamie Whitney joined the staff of Military & Aerospace Electronics and Intelligent Aerospace. He brings seven years of print newspaper experience to the aerospace and defense electronics industry.

Whitney oversees editorial content for the Intelligent Aerospace Website, as well as produce news and features for Military & Aerospace Electronics, attend industry events, produce Webcasts, oversee print production of Military & Aerospace Electronics, and expand the Intelligent Aerospace and Military & Aerospace Electronics franchises with new and innovative content.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!