GrafTech Providing Advanced Material Components for NASA’s Orion

Biddeford, Maine. December 4, 2013. GrafTech recently won a contract to provide advanced material components for NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle Launch Abort System (LAS), which allows Orion’s crew to safely escape in an emergency during launch or ascent. Orion will carry up to four astronauts beyond low Earth orbit on long-duration missions to destinations such as an asteroid and eventually Mars.

The advanced composite material and propulsion components for this project were developed and manufactured by a subsidiary of GrafTech’s Engineered Solutions segment based in Biddeford, Maine. These high-performance thermo-structural composite components provide the ability to continuously control the vehicle during a launch abort — a new function that enables unprecedented crew safety.

In developing the components for this application, GrafTech engineers adjusted designs, processes and material properties to meet the LAS’ thermal and structural requirements. GrafTech’s advanced material system is able to withstand 3500° F gas temperatures in a dynamic flow environment.

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor to NASA for the Orion spacecraft. The first test flight, called Exploration Flight Test – 1 (EFT-1), is scheduled for September 2014.

GrafTech Chairman & CEO Craig Shular commented, “We continue to leverage GrafTech’s core competency of providing innovative graphite material science solutions into high-tech industries. We value the partnerships we have with industry leaders, NASA and Lockheed Martin, and the opportunities we’ve had to support their missions.”

Source: GrafTech International