NASA coats metallic structures and ground support equipment to guard against the adverse effects of corrosion and to ensure they meet or exceed intended performance life. These coatings include inorganic zinc coatings, primer and/or intermediate coatings, finish coatings, and epoxy mastic coatings, among others. In recent years, commercial coating products have changed due to new formulations, changing product numbers, and product cancellations.
As a result, a need exists for NASA to survey the market for new or modified coating materials that can meet NASA’s performance requirements and ensure compliance with regulations governing sites where NASA operates. To be considered for testing, products are screened based on a number of factors, of which the product’s potential impact on the environment and worker health and safety is paramount.
Identified coating products must meet the requirements of NASA-STD-5008, Protective Coating of Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel, and Aluminum on Launch Structures, Facilities, and Ground Support Equipment. This standard establishes uniform engineering practices and methods to ensure the inclusion of essential criteria in the coating of ground support equipment and facilities used by or for NASA.
The most demanding requirement is that alternatives must pass identified performance standards such as corrosion resistance after exposure at the Kennedy Space Center Beachside Atmospheric Test Site. Located only 100 feet from the Atlantic Ocean and approximately one mile south of the Space Shuttle launch pads, the site has been cited as the most corrosive atmospheric corrosion test site in the United States due to the high salt, high humidity, and high ultraviolet radiation exposure. Established in the 1960s, the site has provided over 40 years of historical information on the long-term performance of many materials in use at Kennedy Space Center and other locations around the world.
Industry input is sought on alternative, environmentally friendly coatings for corrosion protection of metallic facilities, structures, and ground support equipment. Products should be mature, commercially available, and have less than 200 g/L of volatile organic compounds. Materials that do not contain hexavalent chromium, lead, cadmium, or hazardous air pollutants are desirable. Technologies determined to be viable alternatives will be considered for future validation efforts and, if qualified, added to the Qualified Products List in NASA-STD-5008.