The Artemis space mission’s success will pave the way for putting humans back on the Moon. Two High Performance Solutions SBUs, Saint-Gobain Quartz and Omniseal Solutions™, have played their part by supplying components and solutions with exceptional qualities.
On November 16, the most powerful rocket in history blasted off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. All stages of this first Artemis mission were on schedule. On December 11, the Orion space capsule, designed to carry a crew, was recovered from the Pacific Ocean after a 25-day journey, including a week in orbit around the Moon. This complete success opens the way to a second, rather similar but manned mission, as early as 2024. In 2025, humans could step on lunar soil for the first time since the Apollo 17 mission of 1972. The goal this time is more ambitious: to establish permanent facilities and a relay station in orbit to maintain a regular presence. And to prepare for future voyages to deep space, and in particular, Mars.
THREE MORE CAPSULES ORDERED
Two High Performance Solutions SBUs, Saint-Gobain Quartz (Ceramics BU) and Omniseal Solutions™ (BU Mobility), contributed to this initial success. The first provided its Quartzel® filaments, made of 99.95% pure silica, to the manufacturers of the capsule's compression pads. Woven in 3D and then infused with resin, these toric parts hold the Orion crew module to its propulsion system until it comes down to earth. They must then withstand the extreme heat caused by friction with air in the atmosphere. This application of quartz filaments outside its core radome business is very promising. For their critical part, Omniseal Solutions™ supplies very high-strength polymer and metal seals for this Artemis rocket and many others (Omniseal®RACO®, 103A and C-Seals), sealing the extremely large launcher's liquid oxygen and hydrogen tanks (up to 2m in diameter) and valves that control the flow of Orion’s propellant tanks. With the combination of polymer and metal sealing solutions, space customers benefit from a fuller spectrum of technology advantages and engineering design: leak control, higher temperatures and pressures, and corrosive resistance.
Three other Orion modules have already been ordered by NASA to carry out the next missions of the Artemis program. Six more may follow. The space market is growing, a definite opportunity for Saint-Gobain HPS BUs!