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Putting Science to Work: DuPont and NASA to Develop Foam Insulation


DuPont has signed a Space Act Agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to jointly develop urethane foam insulation reinforced with DuPont™ Kevlar® fiber for use in a variety of future spacecraft, including the new launch vehicle being designed to replace the space shuttle.
DuPont and scientists at the NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama will specifically seek to develop a process to incorporate Kevlar® fiber into the cell walls of the foam, thereby enhancing the performance of the thermal protection systems used in the Ares 1 crew launch vehicle. There may be other uses for the material in future science and exploration applications ranging from vehicle TPS to inflatable structures.

DuPont has signed an agreement with NASA to jointly develop foam insulation reinforced with DuPont(TM) Kevlar(R) fiber for use in the Ares 1 Crew launch vehicle.

“DuPont materials have enabled manned and unmanned missions into space for almost half a century, and we continue to work closely with NASA to help solve their most pressing challenges,” said Tom Powell, vice president and general manager, DuPont Advanced Fiber Systems. “We look forward to the opportunity to partner with NASA scientists to develop their next-generation thermal protection systems.”
Kevlar® is perhaps best known for its use in bullet- and stab-resistant body armor, but it also has strong ties to the U.S. Space Program. The high performance fiber that is five times stronger than steel on an equal weight basis is used today, along with DuPont™ Nomex® fiber, in space suits worn by astronauts. Additionally, a parachute made of Kevlar® fiber was included on the Galileo probe to Jupiter, and at the International Space Station, a blanket made of Kevlar® fiber was used to wrap its inner walls and provided protection from micrometeorites.


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