Toray to Supply Carbon Fiber to SpaceX, Probably for BFR

Yuichiro Kanematsu, for Nikkei Asian Review:

Carbon fibers are more elastic than similar material used in aircraft and thus will be able to withstand the harsh conditions of space travel.

Toray commands the top global market share for the material. Having realized its wide-spread use among aircraft manufacturers, the company has been able to build up expertise in cost cutting and molding.

Lighter structures mean more payload. More durable structures mean more reuse.

The likely plan is to supply carbon fiber sheets from a Toray production center in Alabama, with SpaceX to further process the material into end products. Adding dedicated production lines at a South Carolina plant will be considered if SpaceX’s demand for carbon fiber grows as expected.

There have been several rumors about BFR using composites, and this certainly points in that direction. That last line reads like Elon Musk told Toray, β€œWe’re going to need a lot of it. No, seriously, more than you could imagine.”