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Thermal Protection System

The area aft of the reinforced carbon-carbon nose cap to the nose landing gear doors has sustained damage (tile slumping) during flight operations from impact during ascent and overheating during re-entry. This area, which previously was covered with high-temperature reusable surface insulation tiles, will now be covered with reinforced carbon-carbon.

The low-temperature thermal protection system tiles on Columbia's midbody, payload bay doors and vertical tail were replaced with advanced flexible reusable surface insulation blankets.

Because of evidence of plasma flow on the lower wing trailing edge and elevon landing edge tiles (wing/elevon cove) at the outboard elevon tip and inboard elevon, the low-temperature tiles are being replaced with fibrous refractory composite insulation (FRCI-12) and high-temperature (HRSI-22) tiles along with gap fillers on Discovery and Atlantis. On Columbia only gap fillers are installed in this area.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 04/07/2002
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