Space Shuttle, Thermal Protection System, tile, Orbiter, subnominal bond
This study researched the history of Space Shuttle Reusable Surface Insulation which was designed and developed for use on the United States Orbiter fleet to protect from the high heating experienced during reentry through Earth's atmosphere. Specifically the tile system which is attached to the structure by the means of an RTV adhesive has experienced situations where the bonds are identified as subnominal. The history of these subnominal conditions is presented along with a recent identification of a subnominal bond between the Strain Isolation Pad and the tile substrate itself. Tests were run to identify the cause of these subnominal conditions and also to show how these conditions were proved to be acceptable for flight. The study also goes into cases that could be used to identify subnominal conditions on tile as a non-destructive test prior to flight. Several options of non-destructive testing were identified and recommendations are given for future research into this topic. A recent topic is also discussed in the instance where gap fillers were identified during the STS-114 mission that did not properly adhere to the substrate. The gap fillers were found protruding past the Outer Mold Line of the vehicle which required an unprecedented spacewalk to remove them to allow for a safe reentry through the atmosphere.
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Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering (M.S.A.E.)
College of Engineering and Computer Science
Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Snapp, Cooper, "Evaluation Of Space Shuttle Tile Subnominal Bonds" (2006). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 831.