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[i]In October 1978, D.G. Noble was assigned as chief of U.S. Air Force quality assurance on all NASA contracts at Lockheed Missile and Space Systems in Sunnyvale, California.
The main NASA contract at that time was for the production of space shuttle tile for the first space shuttle to fly in space, Columbia. At that time, space shuttle tile was being thrown into a large discard receptacle. There were no strict policies in effect at that time, precluding removal of anything from these receptacles.
Noble's interest in the discarded tile was as an insulating material for a fireplace, so he removed enough material to accomplish this purpose. A few years later, a NASA representative came to Noble's home to discuss when and how he obtained the discarded space shuttle tile. NASA concluded that Noble had obtained the tile legally, which could also be sold commercially. This was reaffirmed in a letter from the Inspector General for NASA to Michael Noble in a June 22, 1994 letter from George T. Lenehan, chief counsel, Office of the Chief Counsel, for Ames Research Center, NASA.
The Space Store legally purchased Mr. Noble's entire thermal tile material stock in July, 2009.[/i]
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