This paper documents a recent R&D effort conducted by the Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate, to assess the feasibility of fabricating large composite launch vehicle fairings without the use of autoclaves. Two composite manufacturing approaches were demonstrated: vacuum-bag compaction with oven cure and vacuum assisted resin transfer molding with oven cure. For this project, a 2.8-m diameter fairing was developed for the Minotaur IV launch system. The prototype fairing was instrumented and tested up to qualification test loads. No damage or permanent deformations were observed. Measured strain and displacement data were compared to model predictions; trends and amplitudes were generally in agreement.

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