OmniSeal® RACO™ Spring-Energized Seals
Saint-Gobain Seals
Garden Grove, CA

Saint-Gobain Seals produced a cryogenic seal measuring more than six feet wide for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) project. Although this launch system replaced the retired space shuttle, it was built using proven hardware from the space shuttle era and previous successful exploration programs, as well as cutting-edge tooling and manufacturing technology in order to reduce development time and cost. SLS’ first mission, Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1), will go into space in late 2018, and uses Saint-Gobain seals.

Since OmniSeal® seals handle extreme pressure conditions ranging from vacuum to several hundred PSI (a hundred bar), and temperature conditions ranging from cryogenic to many hundreds of degrees, they are ideal for the SLS, the world’s most powerful rocket. Since the launch vehicle is designed to be flexible and evolvable, being upgraded over time with more powerful versions, the seals will be able to support future demanding payloads including robotic scientific missions to places such as Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter.

The evolved configuration development of the SLS will stand 384 feet tall, weigh 6.5 million pounds, and generate 9.2 million pounds of thrust for EM-1 at liftoff. The 22-day EM-1 mission will help confirm the integrated system performance of the SLS launch vehicle and unmanned Orion capsule as it travels a stable orbit beyond the Moon and returns to Earth. The mission will break the distance record reached by the most remote Apollo spacecraft, and then 30,000 miles farther out (275,000 total miles). The second SLS flight, Exploration Mission 2 (EM-2), will carry four astronauts beyond low Earth orbit for the first time since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

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