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On-orbit Passive ThermographyOn July 12, 2006, British-born astronaut Piers Sellers became the first person to conduct thermal nondestructive evaluation experiments in space, demonstrating the feasibility of a new tool for detecting damage to the reinforced carbon-carbon (RCC) structures of the Shuttle. This new tool was an EVA (Extravehicular Activity, or spacewalk) compatible infrared camera developed by NASA engineers. Data was collected both on the wing leading edge of the Orbiter and on pre-damaged samples mounted in the Shuttle s cargo bay. A total of 10 infrared movies were collected during the EVA totaling over 250 megabytes of data. Images were downloaded from the orbiting Shuttle to Johnson Space Center for analysis and processing. Results are shown to be comparable to ground-based thermal inspections performed in the laboratory with the same type of camera and simulated solar heating. The EVA camera system detected flat-bottom holes as small as 2.54cm in diameter with 50% material loss from the back (hidden) surface in RCC during this first test of the EVA IR Camera. Data for the time history of the specimen temperature and the capability of the inspection system for imaging impact damage are presented.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Howell, Patricia A.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Winfree, William P.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Cramer, K. Elliott
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2008
Subject Category
Fluid Mechanics And Thermodynamics
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 377816.
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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