DuPont is to work with the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to jointly develop urethane foam insulation reinforced with DuPont Kevlar fibre for use in a variety of future spacecraft, including the new launch vehicle being designed to replace the space shuttle.
Specifically, DuPont and scientists at the NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama will seek to develop a process to incorporate Kevlar fibre into the cell walls of the urethane foam, enhancing the performance of the thermal protection systems used in the Ares 1 crew launch vehicle.
Kevlar is perhaps best known for its use in bullet- and stab-resistant body armour, but it also has strong ties to the US Space Program. The high performance fibre that is five times stronger than steel on an equal weight basis is used today, along with DuPont Nomex fibre, in space suits worn by astronauts.
Additionally, a parachute made of Kevlar fibre was included on the Galileo probe to Jupiter, and at the International Space Station, a blanket made of Kevlar fibre was used to wrap its inner walls and provided protection from micrometeorites.