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For Release: Sept. 21, 1995
June E. Malone
MARSHALL SPACE FLIGHT CENTER, USBI TEAM DEVELOPS ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY BOOSTER INSULATION
Engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center, Ala., and USBI Company have recently developed and tested a more environmentally friendly material to insulate the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) used to launch the Space Shuttle.
The new material, called MCC-1 for Marshall Convergent Coating, is a sprayable thermal protection system that is used to protect the large areas of the SRB structures, with the exception of the motor segments, from heating due to aeroshear, radiation and plume impingement.
The materials use a new application technology which eliminates the hazardous solvents used by the current SRB insulation. MCC-1 is applied to the booster components through a convergent process in which materials are mixed outside the spray nozzle as they converge onto the surface, thus eliminating the hazardous compounds currently used to apply insulation.
"Using this new material at our SRB assembly facility in Florida will improve air quality and simplify processing," said Marshalls SRB Deputy Project John Chapman. "It is clearly a win-win development."
In addition to the positive environmental aspects of the material, the new insulation is significantly easier to process, according to Chapman. It has fewer ingredients and the new application system does not require that these ingredients be mixed prior to spraying them on the booster.
"The problem with pre-mixed batches of materials is that they have the potential to harden inside hoses and mixing bowls; this problem has been eliminated," said Chapman.
The new insulation will be incorporated into the Shuttle flight program in early 1996.
Editors Note: Video focusing on the new Solid Rocket Booster insulation is scheduled to air tomorrow on NASA Television at approximately 11 a.m. CDT as part of NASA TVs video news file. Video news files are aired each day at 11 a.m., and 2, 5, and 8 p.m. CDT. NASA Television is broadcast on Spacenet 2, transponder 5, channel 9, C-Band, located at 69 degrees West longitude, with horizontal polarization. Frequency will be on 3880.0 megahertz, with audio on 6.8 megahertz.