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Smart Imaging Technologies (Houston, Texas)
The Imaging Challenge
As a part of the Space Shuttle Safety Program, NASA needed to analyze the quality and usability of new NOAX material developed to repair damaged RCC Heat Shield Tiles. Repairs were performed in space by the astronauts during a space walk. To compare quality of repairs for different grades of material, NASA needed to objectively and quantitatively evaluate cracks and pores in the internal structure of the tiles repaired in space during the space mission.
3D images of the internal structure of RCC Heat Shield tiles are obtained from a CT scanner, but the human eye is not capable of objectively and quantitatively comparing samples that have close characteristics. Another problem is that measuring porosity and cracks on 2D slices of the image is not representative of the actual 3D system because pores and cracks may interconnect through the third dimension (tortuosity). To solve this problem, Smart Imaging Technologies developed a specialized automated 3D image metrology solution using SIMAGISŪ software platform that automatically performs the following functions:
The Tools Used
The Difference it Made
Using this imaging solution, NASA could objectively compare repairs done in space using different grades and formulas of NOAX material and guide the development process for repair procedures and patch material for space shuttle heat shield tiles.