GARDEN GROVE, CALIFORNIA – On August 28, 2013, at 18:03 UTC, a United Launch Alliance Delta IV with a reconnaissance satellite was launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The heavy rocket, which is the most powerful rocket currently flying and known for its delivery of exceptionally demanding payloads, utilized Saint-Gobain Seals Group's OmniSeal® spring-energized seals and Meldin® 7021 bearings within its slip joint system. The satellite was identified as the NROL-65 by the US National Reconnaissance Office due to its classified payload. The NROL-65 object achieved a low-Earth, sun-synchronous orbit, typical for imaging satellites and the type of launches conducted at Vandenberg site versus geosynchronous orbits that are used by broadcast satellites. Capable of putting a 25-ton payload into low Earth orbit, the three-booster Delta-IV rocket released the classified payload into its target orbit within the first lap around the Earth, marking this flight a success. The launch marked the 364th Delta flight since the start of the program in 1960 and was the 7th launch of a Delta IV Heavy.
The seals and bearings were custom designed and manufactured by the Seals Group at their Garden Grove, California, and Bristol, Rhode Island, facilities respectively. Their OmniSeal® spring-energized 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. Examples of their other seal applications for the space industry include rocket engines, valves, turbo pumps, connections within systems, and fuel and oxidizer lines.
Meldin® 7021 material was specifically chosen to be the bushing material due to effectively handling the demanding temperature swings as well as operating with smooth efficiency during the launch sequence. This material is also found in many demanding applications due to meeting high heat, friction, and rigidity requirements at elevated temperatures. The Seals Group has been the main supplier of sealing and polymer solutions for a majority of the rockets launched in the past fifty years or more; thousands of seals were used in the Space Shuttle, other spacecraft and the International Space Station.
For additional information about the launch or other Seals Group space news, please visit www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/08/ula-delta-iv-h-launch-nrol-65/ Vandenberg Air Force Base or www.seals.saint-gobain.com.
About Saint-Gobain Seals Group (www.seals.saint-gobain.com)
Saint-Gobain Seals Group is a business unit under Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics' Engineered Components division; our parent company is one of the world's top 100 industrial groups. With more than 50 years of manufacturing experience and an established global presence (with strategic sites in Garden Grove, California, USA; Belgium, Kontich; and Minhang, Shanghai, China), we offer a diverse range of innovative sealing and polymer solutions:
PTFE Rotary Shaft Seals
EMI / RFI Shielding Solutions
High-Performance Fluoropolymer Compounds
Thermoset Polyimide Materials
High-Performance Thermoplastic Materials
Other products include Fluoroloy® (high-performance custom-formulated compounds and alloys), cup seals, hydraulic seals, metal seals, v-packings, piston rings, Marathon® (valves and vacuum pump diaphragms), Transband® (PTFE creepage band), custom parts, polymer bearings and stock shapes.
The majority of seals and polymer components manufactured are custom designed and matched with the best materials to optimize their performance in various applications and markets.
Saint-Gobain Seals Group