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  Spacecraft & Launch Vehicles

is being tested in production on the LH2 and LO2 tanks. LTI has developed a semi-automatic robot, the LTI-7300, capable of inspecting an area of 32 x 36 inches in 0.5 seconds for cracks, disbonds and crushed foam. The test method is Acoustic Stress, Phase Reversal Shearography. Changes in SOFI formulations eliminating CFC components place particular importance on the need for nondestructive testing as a means of SOFI process control. For both manned and unmanned launch vehicles. This LTI Technology is in production use on the Boeing Delta IV launch vehicle and has been under evaluation at NASA KSC for possible use on the External Tank SOFI.


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The LTI-7300 Production Foam TPS Inspection System shown testing the SOFI applied to the Ist. Stage LH2 tank. The LTI-7300 is capable of up to 1,400 sq. ft./hour throughput, testing this 92 ft. long tank in one 8 hour shift.
LTI Shearography test images of 20x24 inch area of SOFI TPS on aluminum panels. Disbonds are black indications. Left, showing defects 1,2 and 4 inches. Test time is 0.5 seconds..


BOFI TPS is being inspected in production in numerous applications including the Atlas and Titan Centaur as well as the Delta IV LH2 and LO2 tanks. Typically closed cell foam is adhesively bonded to tank and vacuum bagged. Disbonds detected shearographically using acoustic stress appear as dark areas, here along edge of bonded foam panels (arrows).

Test Area: 24 x 30 inches, Time 0.5 seconds.



Cork, MSA-2,3,4 and K5NA TPS
Vacuum and thermal Stress Shearography are applicable to bonded cork TPS and Space Shuttle MSA and K5NA type TPS, depending on thickness. LTI can provide special tooling to meet requirements.



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Bonded cork TPS on missile test panel with numerous disbonds, largest measuring 1.5 inches.
Space Shuttle RSRB Separation Motor with Bonded Cork TPS. Bond Strength Pull-test areas are seen in photo. Small white indications (arrows) are disbonds in between.


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