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The Use of LS-DYNA in the Columbia Accident Investigation and Return to Flight ActivitiesDuring the launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia on January 16, 2003, foam originating from the external tank impacted the shuttle's left wing 81 seconds after lift-off. Then on February 1st, Space Shuttle Columbia broke-up during re-entry. In the weeks that followed, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board had formed various teams to investigate every aspect of the tragedy. One of these teams was the Impact Analysis Team, which was asked to investigate the foam impact on the wing leading edge. This paper will describe the approach and methodology used by the team to support the accident investigation, and more specifically the use of LS-DYNA for analyzing the foam impact event. Due to the success of the analytical predictions, the impact analysis team has also been asked to support Return to Flight activities. These activities will analyze a far broader range of impact events, but not with just foam and not only on the wing leading edge. The debris list has expanded and so have the possible impact locations. This paper will discuss the Return to Flight activities and the use of LS-DYNA to support them.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Langley Research Center
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Gabrys, Jonathan
(Boeing Co. Philadelphia, PA, United States)
Schatz, Josh
(Boeing Co. Philadelphia, PA, United States)
Carney, Kelly
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Melis, Matthew
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Fasanella, Edwin L.
(Army Research Lab. Hampton, VA, United States)
Lyle, Karen H.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Subject Category
Structural Mechanics
Meeting Information
Meeting: 8th International LS-DYNA Users Conference
Location: Dearborn, MI
Country: United States
Start Date: May 2, 2004
End Date: May 4, 2004
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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