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Vermont Composites Completes Delivery of Components for Third X-34 Fuselage

02 May 2000

Vermont Composites, Inc., Bennington, Vermont has completed the delivery of the third ship set of composite components for NASA's X-34 Technology Demonstrator Vehicle Program. The ship set of components comprising of approximately 80 parts was delivered to Orbital Sciences Corporation, Dulles, VA, who will perform the final assembly and vehicle integration. Vermont Composites was awarded the contract by demonstrating that they could design and produce cost effective mold tools in a short time period using solid models downloaded from Orbital's FTP site. The composite material specified by Orbital Sciences was a low temperature cure epoxy system allowing Vermont Composites to use low cost mold materials that could be quickly fabricated. The fuselage components are sandwich structures with carbon epoxy skins and aluminum honeycomb core. The components were processed in an autoclave for the initial cure and then went through a freestanding oven post cure to increase the high temperature performance of the components. Orbital's X-34 technology demonstrator launch vehicle is a key step in NASA's efforts to develop a robust test bed for reusable launch vehicle technology to be applied to future space transportation. The X-34 will be launched from below an L1011 aircraft, fly to the edge of the earth's atmosphere, return and land on a conventional runway - repeatedly. For more information visit www.orbital.com. Vermont Composites, Inc. offers a full line of services from design and analysis to prototyping and production of high performance composite components. They produce high performance composite parts for the medical, aerospace, electronic, and industrial markets. More information on www.vtcomposites.com.