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Proceedings Paper

Thermographic imaging of the space shuttle during re-entry using a near-infrared sensor
Author(s): Joseph N. Zalameda; Thomas J. Horvath; Robbie V. Kerns; Eric R. Burke; Jeff C. Taylor; Tom Spisz; David M. Gibson; Edward J. Shea; C. David Mercer; Richard J. Schwartz; Steve Tack; Brett C. Bush; Ronald F. Dantowitz; Marek J. Kozubal
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Paper Abstract

High resolution calibrated near infrared (NIR) imagery of the Space Shuttle Orbiter was obtained during hypervelocity atmospheric re-entry of the STS-119, STS-125, STS-128, STS-131, STS-132, STS-133, and STS-134 missions. This data has provided information on the distribution of surface temperature and the state of the airflow over the windward surface of the Orbiter during descent. The thermal imagery complemented data collected with onboard surface thermocouple instrumentation. The spatially resolved global thermal measurements made during the Orbiter's hypersonic re-entry will provide critical flight data for reducing the uncertainty associated with present day ground-to-flight extrapolation techniques and current state-of-the-art empirical boundary-layer transition or turbulent heating prediction methods. Laminar and turbulent flight data is critical for the validation of physics-based, semi-empirical boundary-layer transition prediction methods as well as stimulating the validation of laminar numerical chemistry models and the development of turbulence models supporting NASA's next-generation spacecraft. In this paper we provide details of the NIR imaging system used on both air and land-based imaging assets. The paper will discuss calibrations performed on the NIR imaging systems that permitted conversion of captured radiant intensity (counts) to temperature values. Image processing techniques are presented to analyze the NIR data for vignetting distortion, best resolution, and image sharpness.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 May 2012
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 8354, Thermosense: Thermal Infrared Applications XXXIV, 83540F (18 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.918127
Show Author Affiliations
Joseph N. Zalameda, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Thomas J. Horvath, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Robbie V. Kerns, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Eric R. Burke, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Jeff C. Taylor, The Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab. (United States)
Tom Spisz, The Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab. (United States)
David M. Gibson, The Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab. (United States)
Edward J. Shea, Futron Corp. (United States)
C. David Mercer, SGT, Inc. (United States)
Richard J. Schwartz, AMA, Inc. (United States)
Steve Tack, Naval Air Warfare Ctr. Weapons Div. (United States)
Brett C. Bush, Photon Research Associates Inc. (United States)
Ronald F. Dantowitz, Celestial Computing, Inc. (United States)
Marek J. Kozubal, Celestial Computing, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8354:
Thermosense: Thermal Infrared Applications XXXIV
Douglas Burleigh; Gregory R. Stockton, Editor(s)

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