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Manufacturing Process Simulation of Large-Scale CryotanksNASA's Space Launch Initiative (SLI) is an effort to research and develop the technologies needed to build a second-generation reusable launch vehicle. It is required that this new launch vehicle be 100 times safer and 10 times cheaper to operate than current launch vehicles. Part of the SLI includes the development of reusable composite and metallic cryotanks. The size of these reusable tanks is far greater than anything ever developed and exceeds the design limits of current manufacturing tools. Several design and manufacturing approaches have been formulated, but many factors must be weighed during the selection process. Among these factors are tooling reachability, cycle times, feasibility, and facility impacts. The manufacturing process simulation capabilities available at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center have played a key role in down selecting between the various manufacturing approaches. By creating 3-D manufacturing process simulations, the varying approaches can be analyzed in a virtual world before any hardware or infrastructure is built. This analysis can detect and eliminate costly flaws in the various manufacturing approaches. The simulations check for collisions between devices, verify that design limits on joints are not exceeded, and provide cycle times which aid in the development of an optimized process flow. In addition, new ideas and concerns are often raised after seeing the visual representation of a manufacturing process flow. The output of the manufacturing process simulations allows for cost and safety comparisons to be performed between the various manufacturing approaches. This output helps determine which manufacturing process options reach the safety and cost goals of the SLI.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Marshall Space Flight Center
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Babai, Majid
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Phillips, Steven
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Griffin, Brian
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Munafo, Paul M.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2002
Subject Category
Launch Vehicles And Launch Operations
Meeting Information
Meeting: AMPET
Location: Huntsville, AL
Country: United States
Start Date: September 16, 2002
End Date: September 18, 2002
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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