New Lightweight Rocket Fuel Tank Ditches Metal for Carbon Fiber and Plastic

With the support of the European Space Agency, German aerospace company MT Aerospace has developed a unique design for a small-scale rocket fuel tank made of a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic. The tank can hold liquid hydrogen and oxygen without leaking and without the use of a metal liner.

By excluding metal, the novel fuel tank is much lighter. It also requires fewer parts to assemble and is a faster, cheaper alternative to other fuel tank designs, according to the ESA. Any way to reduce weight on a spacecraft is a boon, since more fuel is needed to launch heavier objects into orbit and beyond.

“This is a tremendous step forward. We have found a very specific carbon composite and processing method that will allow us to consider new architectures and combinations of functions for rocket upper stages which are not possible using metal,” Kate Underhill, a project manager in the Future Launchers Preparatory Program at the ESA, said in an agency news release.

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Source: Gizmodo

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