LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — The first of ten contracts awarded under the Booster Propulsion Technology Maturation Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) was recently completed. Moog Inc. successfully completed a “Non-Destructive Evaluation, Standards, and Testing” project, March 13. The company met all program objectives and completed all deliverables on time and on budget during the 15-month period of performance.
The Space and Missile Systems Center awarded the Booster Propulsion BAA contracts between November 2015 to January 2016 with the objective of maturing technologies and reducing risk in support of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. The BAA was part of a comprehensive Air Force plan to transition off the Russian made RD-180 propulsion system used on the Atlas V rocket by investing in domestic industry launch solutions.
Moog’s three-phased project consisted of identifying and investigating possible additive manufacturing (AM) process generated flaws and their detection, evaluating the suitability of inspection techniques to detect AM part flaws and creating an AM-optimized ball element for a booster propulsion system propellant flow control valve. In addition to program deliverables, Moog Inc. pioneered a computed tomography-based specification for non-destructive inspection of AM parts based on their findings under this contract. Currently there’s no industry standard for non-destructive inspection of AM parts. Moog Inc. will present their proposed standard to the Society of Automotive Engineers AM committee in the coming months.
The use of AM parts in propulsion systems will greatly reduce the lead time for manufacturing propulsion system components. Moreover, the ability to perform non-destructive inspection of these parts will improve understanding of part quality and greatly reduce inspection time compared to that of traditional physical inspection techniques.
“Moog’s efforts help lead the way to use Additive Manufacturing in the launch systems for our nation’s critical national security satellites, allowing us to launch just as safely but at lower cost” said Col. Robert Bongiovi, senior materiel leader for the EELV System Acquisition Division.
The BAA contracts focus on material manufacturing and development, primarily focusing on reducing the cost of future engines; and advanced technologies, primarily focused on advancing the state of the art for future engines. The contracts awarded under the Booster Propulsion Technology Maturation BAA totaled approximately $34.6 million.
All completed reports from this BAA effort will be posted to the Defense Technical Information Center web site at www.dtic.mil.