Cryogenic Fuel Tank

©Boeing

Cryogenic Fuel Tank

This 5.5-meter cryogenic propellant tank is currently is being manufactured at the Boeing Developmental Center in Tukwila, Wash. It will be one of the largest composite propellant tanks ever made and is scheduled to be pressure-tested in 2014 at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

NASA recently completed a major space technology development milestone by successfully testing a pressurized, large cryogenic propellant tank made of composite materials. The composite tank will enable the next generation of rockets and spacecraft needed for space exploration.

Cryogenic propellants are gasses chilled to subfreezing temperatures and condensed to form highly combustible liquids, providing high-energy propulsion solutions critical to future, long-term human exploration missions beyond low-Earth orbit. Cryogenic propellants, such as liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, have been traditionally used to provide the enormous thrust needed for large rockets and NASA's space shuttle.

"These successful tests mark an important milestone on the path to demonstrating the composite cryogenic tanks needed to accomplish our next generation of deep space missions," said Michael Gazarik, NASA's associate administrator for space technology at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "This investment in game changing space technology will help enable NASA's exploration of deep space while directly benefiting American industrial capability in the manufacturing and use of composites."

More: NASA Tests Game Changing Composite Cryogenic Fuel Tank

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