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NASA tank manufacturer to build LNG storage tanks

LNG Industry,

The company that has manufactured external tanks for NASA’s Space Shuttle programme for 38 years will now produce liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage tanks. Lockheed Martin has been contracted to produce cryogenic LNG storage tanks for Wartsila and Harvey Gulf International Marine.

"There is a growing need for storing and transporting LNG to consumers," commented Rob Smith, vice president of Space & Cyber programmes for Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions. "Having developed complex cryogenic external tanks for NASA for years, it made sense for us to apply that technological expertise to the liquefied natural gas tank market."

The company custom manufactures tanks in different variants and materials, and is currently manufacturing both marine-based LNG tanks for Offshore Supply Vessels and land-based tanks. All tanks are manufactured to ASME standards for pressure vessels.

All LNG tanks are manufactured inside the main manufacturing building at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, where Lockheed Martin manufactured and delivered 136 external fuel tanks for NASA space shuttle missions.

Lockheed Martin is also investigating how to leverage existing capabilities and services to improve the safety and efficiency of distributing and handling LNG. For example, the company has already developed an auto-coupler solution for the Atlas V Launch Vehicle to safely and automatically transfer cryogenic fuel. If adapted to the LNG industry, this technology would safely simplify bunkering of cryogenic fuels in port.

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