Protective Packaging recently worked with an aerospace manufacturer to preserve the main rocket engines used during the Space Shuttle missions.
December 20, 2013
Packaging Space History: Protective Packaging Preserves Space Shuttle Main Rocket Engines
A large aerospace manufacturer had been tasked with storing several rocket engines used during the Space Shuttle missions. The company had a packaging solution in place that consisted of regular polyurethane bags fitted with valves that enabled them to pump “missile air” (super dehumidified air) into the bags to purge the ambient, humid air out of the bag and keep the humidity at a minimum inside the bag. This solution is effective for reducing the risk of corrosion as long as the power is on and the pump supplying the missile air is working. In the event of a power failure or other malfunction, the manufacturer needed a way to ensure the storage environment would remain corrosion free.
The manufacturer contacted Protective Packaging’s on-site packaging team to see what the company had to offer. Protective Packaging evaluated the storage environment and length of storage and proposed a multi-part solution designed to maintain a moisture-free environment around the rocket engines in the event that the missile air purge system failed.
Protective Packaging created an enclosure comprised of a one piece bag that would be sealed together along the top. The enclosure was made from Protect Scrim B, a moisture barrier material used in military packaging that conforms to MIL-PRF-131. The team added access points for the missile air purge valves and monitoring windows to check the internal humidity via 3 spot humidity indicator cards. The manufacturer used a crane to lift the rocket engines onto the bag. Next, the team padded the edges and packed the component with several bags of 16 unit Tyvek pouch desiccant. Protective Packaging’s on-site packaging professionals then pulled the bag up over the engine and used a Pack Rite heat sealer to seal the top of the one piece bag closed.
“We regularly use multiple products to achieve a more effective storage environment,” commented Protective Packaging’s Senior Vice President, Jim Hiller. “By combining a moisture-vapor proof barrier material with a desiccant, we are able to create and maintain an interior space with virtually no moisture.”
Several times during the procedure, the manufacturer reminded the team to be careful saying, “Remember, these are $10 million national treasures we are working with.”
An irreplaceable piece of space history is now packaged in a close-to-zero humidity, flexible enclosure that is able to withstand damage caused by dust, moisture, pests, and other air born contaminants.
About Protective Packaging
Protective Packaging Corporation produces barrier bags for corrosion prevention and static shielding during shipping and storage. With over 25 years of developing packaging solutions with the US military, Protective Packaging Corporation carries a wide range of mil-spec compliant barrier materials available in rolls, sheets, tubes and bags. The company’s packaging consultants assist customers in addressing all forms of shipping needs, from protecting cargo during shipment to preserving items during long-term storage. For more information on Protective Packaging Corporation, visit http://www.protectivepackaging.net.