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Re: "unofficial" information

At 08:15 PM 10/8/2000 -0400, K5OE@aol.com wrote:
>What is the material of construction for the storage tanks.  The reason I ask 
>is I assume it is aluminum, but hydrazine and ammonia have less demanding 
>requirements than nitric acid based oxidizers like dinitrogen tetroxide.  Any 
>chance the oxidizer tank is titanium?

I don't know. Maybe someone who does will jump in.

As you probably know, we (AMSAT) didn't build the propellant tanks. They were built in Russia. I don't think I've heard the details of who built them or how we got our hands on them. There seem to be a lot of official space-rated components in the propulsion system, unlike most of the rest of the spacecraft. Not too surprising, considering how critical and how potentially dangerous that subsystem is.

All six propellant tanks are nominally identical, so there's nothing special about the oxidizer tank.

I've seen the spare tank that was pressure-tested to destruction. Quite dramatic. It split open (ruptured) not along the (welded?) seam, but at some arbitrary-looking other spot. Reportedly the tank didn't rupture until it was pressurized to several times the required pressure for P3D. A nice margin of overdesign.

I'm no metallurgist either, but looking at the way it ruptured I would say it might well be an aluminum alloy of some kind. It was a rough but not jagged edge, if I recall correctly. It didn't look like the kind of failure I'd associate with titanium, for whatever that's worth.

73  -Paul

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