Space Inflatables

Aerospace Materials & Composites

Warwick has extensive experience engineering space inflatables

Space Inflatables Engineering Partners
Warwick Mills has extensive experience in the development of mission-critical aerospace materials for space inflatable structures.

Our project partners have included NASA, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon. Warwick's history with aerospace composites includes weaving fabrics for reentry parachutes and the Apollo recovery floats.

Warwick has also worked with ILC, JPL, and NASA in the development of the inflatable Mars landing airbags for the Pathfinder, Spirit, and Opportunity spsce exploration missions.

Space Inflatables
Orion CEV drop test article with inflated landing airbags made from Warwick's coated fabric, during testing at NASA LaRC

Warwick Supports NASA's Shuttle Replacement Effort
Warwick manufactured the urethane-coated Vectran® material used in the airbags that are a candidate landing technology for NASA's Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle.

Under the direction of NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC), Airborne Systems (formerly Irvin Aerospace) designed the airbags and selected Warwick to supply the material.

The material must withstand both the loads of inflation and the loads imparted as the vehicle lands and slides to a stop. The combined vertical and horizontal kinetic energy dissipated by the bags is roughly equivalent to that of three Hummer H2 vehicles traveling at 30 mph!

Using the strength specification provided by Airborne Systems, Warwick determined the yarn, weave, and coating processes that would produce the required strength while minimizing the weight of the material. The material both retains the inflation gas and provides for the structural integrity of the bags.