McDONNELL DOUGLAS (MDC) has received a cryogenic liquid-oxygen tank produced in Russia using an advanced aluminium-lithium alloy. The tank will be installed in the upgraded Delta Clipper Experimental Advanced (DC-XA) re-useable launch-vehicle, due to be flight-tested in 1996.

The 630kg 2.4m-diameter tank was produced by RSC Energia, using Russian 1460 aluminium-lithium alloy. The unit weighs some 20% less than the aluminium-alloy tank it will replace, says MDC. The prime contractor for the tank was the Russian Academy of Sciences' Mechanical Engineering Research Institute, and the alloy was produced by the Kamensk-Uralsky Metallurgy Works with assistance from the Russian Institute of Aviation Materials.

A carbonfibre-composite cryogenic liquid-hydrogen tank is under test at NASA. The two tanks, plus a carbonfibre intertank structure, will form the core of MDC's upgraded DC-XA, which is the forerunner of a proposed single-stage-to-orbit re-useable launch-vehicle.

Source: Flight International