What do you do with composite products once the life cycle is complete?
We are very sensitive to the environment. NASA is in transition right now away from our current fleet of vehicles. What we do in manufacturing and reuse and recycling is a consideration in our new designs because obviously we want to strive to improve our environmental footprint. The green part of recycling composite parts is something NASA is continually working on together with industry, academia, and the Department of Defense.
What are parts that could be made of composites that currently are not?
NASA is considering designs using much larger launch vehicles, which right now are mostly made of aluminum. There is a lot of potential to use composites in the main structure and we are working hard to accomplish this. There is also potential to manufacture composite liquid oxygen and hydrogen cryogenic tanks that are used during a launch. Although there are no current plans to create those, nevertheless it would be a tremendous weight savings.