HyperSizer Customer Paper

"Application Of Advanced Grid-Stiffened Structures Technology To The Minotaur Payload Fairing" (7 pages)


Wegner, Peter M., Higgins, John E., VanWest, Barry P.


The Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/VS) is exploring new structural configurations and corresponding methods for fabricating launch vehicle fairings. The goal of this research is to reduce the cost of these components while also enabling large structures to be fabricated. Processes for fabricating Advanced Grid Stiffened (AGS) composite structures have been developed that show promise to help achieve these goals. These procedures were successfully demonstrated in an AGS fairing for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization’s (BMDO) Combined Experiments Program. Currently, AFRL/VS has joined with Boeing’s Phantom Works and Orbital Sciences Corp (OSC) to develop an extended fairing for the Orbital Suborbital Program’s Minotaur launch vehicle. The design methods, fabrication procedures, and testing plans used to develop this fairing will be discussed.