Headquarters Space and Missile Systems Center (AFMC)

Los Angeles Air Force Base, California 90009-2960

Acquisition Management

Honeycomb Sandwich Structures

This regulation establishes policies and procedures and assigns responsibilities for SMC program office acquisitions that contain honeycomb sandwich structures in spacecraft and launch vehicle applications.

1. Policy All SMC programs shall require vented designs for spacecraft or launch vehicle acquisitions that use honeycomb sandwich structures.

2. Background The vented design consists of a suitably perforated sandwich core fitted with either perforated facesheets and/or panel edge members that allow gases present within the sandwich structure to vent safely during ascent into orbit. Vented designs have been successful in previous satellite programs; whereas the use of nonvented sandwich structures has been strongly implicated as a prime factor in component test failure and in mission failure.

The Aerospace Corporation has a database documenting extensive experience with vented and nonvented honeycomb sandwich structures. Exceptional conditions have, in the past, demanded the use of nonvented sandwich structures. These nonvented exceptions were controlled by specially tailored proof testing, supplemented by thorough inspection to ensure flight worthiness. These previous applications, along with the Aerospace database, should be used to guide contractors in obtaining 'best practice' procedures for any application requiring a waiver to this regulation.

3. Responsibilities and Procedures

a. Each SMC program office using honeycomb sandwich structures in space applications shall require contractor compliance regarding the use of a vented design.

b. Each SMC program office using honeycomb sandwich structures in space applications shall evaluate any nonvented application and recommend corrective action to obtain venting, or request a waiver for non-compliance.

c. Instructions for applying and executing this regulation are provided by SMC Regulation 540-15 (Systems Engineering Policy). Any program director who does not apply and execute this regulation, as required by SMCR 540-15, shall immediately request a waiver from the Commander.

Edward P. Barry, Jr.

Lieutenant General, USAF