Application Space: Omniseal® Spring-Energized Seals
Launch vehicles are most often propelled using fluids with liquid oxygen being the most common oxidizer and fuel being liquid hydrogen or kerosene and most recently liquid methane. All these fluids (except kerosene) are commonly stored at cryogenic temperatures.
Sealing is critical when liquid oxygen or hydrogen are involved since they are easily ignitable. Any small amount of leakage can create a hazardous situation, which can lead to a potential explosion of the whole launch system. Leakage requirements are therefore quite stringent.
In order to handle all the fluids used on a launch vehicle such as in the propulsion system, many different type of valves are installed that also require radial and dynamic seals. Some are poppet valves, which are unique due to the reciprocating movement of the shaft leaving the seal unsupported.
As a flow control device, the valve allows the flow of pressurized fluid (liquid or gas) in one direction only. In normal operations, they are in shut-off position where sealing is secured by static seals that are designed to withstand any blowout.
What provides energy to satellites? A common answer is the sun! Most satellites are equipped with solar panels that convert solar energy into electricity to power the intricate systems onboard. These panels can achieve about 34% efficiency vs. the 15 to 20% from most commercial solar panels. When a satellite is launched on a rocket, the solar panel arrays are folded to stay within the space constraints of the payload section. When the satellite reaches its targeted position, the solar panels and antennas are deployed, producing a wingspan of 40 meters!
There are a variety of satellites, each with a specific function and supporting a specific aspect of our daily life. It can be used to enhance navigation, GPS or internet communication; to monitor tides; or to forecast weather. In order to link with each function, a satellite carries instrumentation that needs to operate for many years since maintenance is not possible on a satellite.