This question was broken off from previous mega-question located here.

I am aware of the broad liquid fuel tank types:

  • V-2-style steel fuselage
  • Integral steel
  • Integral aluminum (with varying types of construction--waffle/isogrid/stringer sidewalls and separate/common bulkheads)
  • Carbon-composite

Are any new tank types being developed? Perhaps by CNSA, Blue Origin or ULA?

  • $\begingroup$ much better, thanks! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jan 16, 2020 at 22:16

1 Answer 1


The in-development Prime launcher from Orbex has an uncommon arrangement:

One key aspect of propane is that it remains liquid at cryogenic temperatures. That enabled a “coaxial tank” design for Prime where a central tube of propane is surrounded by an outer tank of liquid oxygen, creating structural mass savings in the rocket.

(From Space News )

Others sources say the common-temperature LOX-LPr wall is carbon composite. I haven’t seen a mention of the outer wall.

  • $\begingroup$ Very interesting and thank you for the source! Seems similar in design but different in purpose to the tank-in-a-tank I believe SpaceX is developing. $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2020 at 1:12
  • $\begingroup$ The key aspect is that both propane and oxygen are liquid between -187.6 and -183 °C. Below -187.7 °C propane is solid. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Jan 17, 2020 at 11:40
  • $\begingroup$ The fill processing for those tanks will require careful control to avoid LPr freezing or blowing off a bunch of LOX. Perhaps there are good SE questions in that area? $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2020 at 15:20

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