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Proceedings Paper

Infrared on-orbit RCC inspection system (IORIS)
Author(s): Michael J. Gazarik; Charles W. Antill; David Geoffrey Johnson; Ryan A. Stephan; Kevin G. Vipavetz; John E. Pandolf; Edward H. Kist; Nina D. Tappan; William P. Winfree; John Teter; David Haakenson; David Hinds; Brian Backer; Heather Wickman; Michael Harris
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Paper Abstract

Designed to fulfill a critical inspection need for the Space Shuttle Program, the Infrared On-orbit RCC Inspection System (IORIS) can detect crack and surface defects in the Reinforced Carbon-Carbon (RCC) sections of the Space Shuttle’s Thermal Protection System (TPS). IORIS performs this detection by taking advantage of the natural thermal gradients induced in the RCC by solar flux and thermal emission from the Earth. IORIS is a compact, low-mass, low-power solution (1.2cm3, 1.5kg, 5.0W) for TPS inspection that exceeds existing requirements for feature detection. Taking advantage of ground-based IR thermography techniques, IORIS provides the Space Shuttle program with a solution that can be accommodated by the existing inspection system. IORIS augments the visible and laser inspection systems and finds cracks that are not easily measurable by the other sensors, and thus fills a critical gap in the Space Shuttle’s inspection needs. Based on crack IR signature predictions and on-orbit gradient expectations, IORIS can achieve crack detection over approximately 96% of the wing-leading edge RCC (using multiple inspections in an orbit period). This paper discusses the on-orbit RCC inspection measurement concept and requirements, and then presents a detailed description of the IORIS design.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 March 2005
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5782, Thermosense XXVII, (28 March 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.603167
Show Author Affiliations
Michael J. Gazarik, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Charles W. Antill, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
David Geoffrey Johnson, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Ryan A. Stephan, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Kevin G. Vipavetz, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
John E. Pandolf, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Edward H. Kist, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Nina D. Tappan, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
William P. Winfree, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
John Teter, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
David Haakenson, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
David Hinds, BAE Systems (United States)
Brian Backer, BAE Systems (United States)
Heather Wickman, BAE Systems (United States)
Michael Harris, BAE Systems (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5782:
Thermosense XXVII
G. Raymond Peacock; Douglas D. Burleigh; Jonathan J. Miles, Editor(s)

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