Space Vehicles and Support Infrastructure

Rocket launchStockwell Elastomerics serves companies that make and launch rockets, satellites, spacecraft, space vehicles and space support infrastructure, providing gaskets, seals, and other components that require the use of high performance elastomers in a variety of applications for outer space. These applications include commercial and government rocketry, satellites, manned vehicles and robots, auxiliary and support equipment. Specific offerings include:

  • Environmental seals
  • EMI thermal management
  • Cushioning pads

The unforgiving environment of space requires ultra-high performance space grade elastomers. These products can withstand high temperatures while promising low-outgassing or ultra-low outgassing and low compression set. Gaskets with UL 94V-0 flame ratings are often required, which may manufactured from available platinum catalyzed silicone foam products.

These rugged and reusable gaskets, seals, and molded components are made from a variety of possible base compounds, including silicone, fluorosilicone, and other ultra-high performance elastomers. Stockwell Elastomerics has partnered with several silicone compounders to provide consistent and reliable materials that are required for space based applications.

Space Applications

Satellite illustrationStockwell Elastomerics has served government and commercial space industry for decades, including many of the recent human rated space vehicles. Some applications include:

  • Dielectric elastomer insulation/barriers
  • Tight tolerance gaskets
  • Gaskets for EMI shielding electronics
  • Damping pads for sensitive components
  • Fuel/solvent resistance
  • Environmental sealing gaskets to keep out dust, humidity, moisture
  • High temperature resistant boots
  • Optical/camera sealing
  • Rocket motor cushioning and ESD protection pads for ground support
  • Pads used with launching pad strongbacks, conductive strongback pads

These applications often require long service life gaskets or pads that meet special requirements such as temperature extremes, wind/water/weather protection, UV and ozone resistance, thermal management, ESD protection and EMI shielding among many others. Methyl-vinyl silicone chemistry allows it to still be flexible down to -100°F (for some grades), and to resist degradation at extreme high temperatures up to 500°F. There are also phenyl-methyl silicones that will get to even lower temperatures while still remaining flexible. Typical catalysts for space grade silicones are platinum (typically for cleaner product) or peroxide (typically for higher temperature).

Stockwell Elastomerics’ Manufacturing Specialties for Space Vehicles

Stockwell Elastomerics specializes in applying adhesive backings as an assembly aid for gaskets and heat shielding components for single use applications. Both acrylic and silicone based adhesives are available, depending on the housing material surface energy and temperature. Stockwell Elastomerics also specializes in the fabrication of unique material combinations to meet the most challenging space grade gaskets and sealing requirements, often combining different materials together to get the best properties of both. Examples include durable engineering films and coated fabrics laminated to silicone foam.

Due to the advancements in rocket launching and reusability over the past few years, the pace of change in this industry has accelerated. Stockwell Elastomerics’ fast turnaround time gaskets and quick production times have assisted multiple last minute redesigns and new applications.

Several solid and cellular silicones from Stockwell Elastomerics are post cured to meet NASA TML/CVCM levels per E595. Stockwell Elastomerics also has the capability to post cure standard materials that do not meet specific outgassing requirements. Stockwell Elastomerics also had familiarity with high performance silicone RTVs that can be added to materials for unique and small volume fabrications. Data and test reports on outgassing, shielding, material mechanical testing are available for many of the PDMS and PTFPMS materials. Materials that meet MIL-DTL-83528, MIL-DTL-25988 C, AMS3320, A-A-59588 are available.

Rocket Motor Pads, Conductive Grounding Pads

Die-cut fluorosilicone, conductive grounding pad for rocket motors, conductive silicone gaskets, and molded silicone for EMI shieldingSolid fuel rocket motors are cushioned and protected from potential ESD build up issues in storage and ground transportation with fabricated conductive grounding pads. Stockwell Elastomerics custom fabricates conductive grounding pads from age resistant silicone sponge rubber and carbon filled conductive silicone rubber materials to cushion and protect solid fuel rocket motors from potential ESD build up issues in storage and ground transportation. These specialty materials provide cushioning that remains consistent over a broad temperature range and retains surface conductivity for safe ESD grounding to the metal chock or carriage – even after years of sun and outdoor exposure. RTV60-CON conductive adhesive is provided to bond the conductive pads to ground support equipment. Contact us for samples.

Contact Stockwell Elastomerics

Contact Us for further assistance with environmental seals, EMI thermal management and cushioning pads for rockets, satellites, spacecraft, space vehicles and space support infrastructure.