28 March 2005 Infrared on-orbit RCC inspection system (IORIS)
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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.
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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, "Infrared on-orbit RCC inspection system (IORIS)", Proc. SPIE 5782, Thermosense XXVII, (28 March 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.603167; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.603167
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