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[i]The Space Launch System (SLS) will be the next heavy-lift launch vehicle for the National Aeronautics and Space Admin. (NASA, Washington D.C.). Composites have been chosen for both the launch vehicle structures and tooling because they offer performance and cost advantages over metals.
As part of a three-year program to develop and demonstrate composite tooling and fabrication technology, Janicki Industries (Sedro-Woolley, Wash.) began working with NASA in 2010 to design tooling for a 1/6th-arc SLS fairing segment. Each segment measures 8.5m by 5.5m (28 ft by 18 ft), and six of them will be assembled to form the barrel section of the payload fairing for the SLS launch vehicle. NASA's objective was to demonstrate that cost-effective production of a lightweight composite structure is possible. "Our capabilities lined up well with NASA's goals in this program," explains Matt Robson, project manager at Janicki, "including out-of-autoclave processing, fabrication of large-scale tooling and pioneering of new processes to meet unique project demands."[/i]
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