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Saint-Gobain Designs & Manufactures Extraordinary Cryogenic Seal for NASA Space Launch System
Saint-Gobain Seals reaches a high-performance mark by producing a cryogenic seal of exceptional size (more than six feet wide) for NASA’s “Space Launch System (SLS)” project, which is commissioned for deeper space exploration.
By: Saint-Gobain Seals
A major contributing factor to the successful design and manufacturing of the critical seal parts was due to Saint-Gobain Seals’ global operational resources, which supports close collaboration with the customer and team members to meet precise and functional requirements as well as assist in installation and product testing. They will also be working with packaging contractors as the seal is considerably larger than usual and needs careful coordination. Manufacturing large seals is not new to the organization as they have also developed similar seals for the oil and gas market, in particular for turret swivel stack systems that have increased in size and complexity.
This new large seal marks the continuation of Saint-Gobain Seals’ sealing and polymer products used in space exploration and their collaboration on NASA projects, starting as far back as the Space Shuttle Program and progressing with the International Space Station, Falcon 9 rocket, Atlas V launch vehicles, Delta IV Heavy rocket, Mars rover Curiosity, and now the SLS project.
Since OmniSeal® seals handle extreme pressure conditions ranging from vacuum to several hundred PSI (a hundred bar) and temperature conditions ranging from cryogenic to many hundreds of degrees, they are ideal for the SLS, the world’s most powerful rocket. Since the launch vehicle is designed to be flexible and evolvable, being upgraded over time with more powerful versions, the seals will be able to support future demanding payloads including robotic scientific missions to places such as Mars, Saturn and Jupiter.
The evolved configuration development of the SLS will stand 384 feet tall, weigh 6.5 million pounds and generate 9.2 million pounds of thrust for EM-1 at liftoff. The 22-day EM-1 mission will help confirm the integrated system performance of the SLS launch vehicle and unmanned Orion capsule as it travels a stable orbit beyond the moon and returns to Earth. The mission will break the distance record reached by the most remote Apollo spacecraft, and then 30,000 miles farther out (275,000 total miles). The second SLS flight, Exploration Mission 2 (EM-2), will carry four astronauts beyond low Earth orbit for the first time since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
To learn more about Saint-Gobain Seals’ OmniSeal® product line, other product lines and its strategic business unit, visit www.seals.saint-
About Saint-Gobain Seals (http://www.seals.saint-
Saint-Gobain Seals is a strategic business unit under Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics’ Engineered Components SOA (sector of activity); our parent company, Saint-Gobain, is one of the world’s top 100 industrial groups and is celebrating its 350th Anniversary of manufacturing excellence in 2015. With more than 50 years of manufacturing experience and an established global presence (with strategic sites in Garden Grove, California, USA; Kontich, Belgium; and Minhang, Shanghai, China), we offer a diverse range of innovative sealing and polymer solutions:
• OmniSeal® Spring–Energized Seals
• OmniLip™ PTFE Rotary Shaft Seals
• Rulon® High-Performance Fluoropolymer Compounds
• Meldin® 7000 Thermoset Polyimide Materials
• Meldin® HT High-Performance Thermoplastic Materials
Other products include Fluoroloy® (high-performance custom-formulated compounds), cup seals, hydraulic seals, metal seals, v-packings, piston rings, Marathon® (valves and vacuum pump diaphragms), Transband® (PTFE creepage band), custom parts, polymer bearings and stock shapes.
The majority of seals and polymer components manufactured are custom designed and matched with the best materials to optimize their performance in various applications and markets.
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