They Made NASA’s Deadline

New Thermal Protection System materials to be used on upcoming shuttle flights have just undergone aero thermal testing at Arnold AFB, Tenn., reports Philip Lorenz III. The project engineer at the Arnold Engineering Development Center said the testing in the von Karman Facility Hypersonic Wind Tunnel C provided a “quantitative assessment” of the materials, which were reformulated by North Carolina Foam Industries. Near the start of testing, the center discovered a problem with the wind tunnel, but it “formed five core teams to tackle this challenge,” said Gregory Fox, AEDC’s ATA project leader. Some 200 machinists, pipe fitters, boilermakers, welders, and mechanical designers solved the cooling system problem. “We had to get this test done on time to support the qualification of these materials so we could start spraying foam on the production tanks that were starting in mid August,” said Philip Kopfinger, Lockheed Martin’s lead engineer for the material testing.