|T O P I C R E V I E W|
|Hart Sastrowardoyo||Short of calling Rockwell, is there a website where one can ask them, "I saw a tile with serial numbers XXXX-XXXX and was wondering if you could tell which orbiter and what flights it had flown, if any?"|
|Robert Pearlman||The numbers on a tile reference where on the orbiter the tile should be installed. |
When a tile is beyond reuse, technicians use the number to order an exact (to shape and size) replacement.
Unless whoever recovered the tile also recovered its corresponding scrap paperwork, the chances of identifying when a tile last flew are very low.
If s/he does have the paperwork then one indicator would be to look for the OV number and the date of removal. Though not always the case, you can sometimes determine a most recent flight by comparing the date of removal to the orbiter's mission dates and finding the closest match.
|garymilgrom||Why do some tiles not have the OV number on them? Is there a place to enter the tile number and find out what location it is located in on the orbiter?|
|Robert Pearlman||Tiles without markings can be for several reasons, from the numbers having been worn off to their never being added. |
There is not, to my knowledge, a publicly accessible guide or database by which tile numbers can be researched. I have seen paperwork that offers specific information for particular orbiter and flight configurations, but nothing online.
|j0s9||I bought this tile a few months ago and I have seen pictures of flown tiles, but I'm curious about this one since it has some brown spots on the front as well as on the back. Do you think this tile could be flown or why does it have those brown spots? |
|Robert Pearlman||collectSPACE Resources: Locating space shuttle tiles by number |
Think of the space shuttle orbiter as a big puzzle with each of its heat shield tiles a puzzle piece.
All space shuttle thermal protection system (TPS) tiles are assigned a serial number identifying where on the orbiters they are to be installed. Each tile is individually made to fit a specific location...
quote: If it had flown, the back of the tile would have been 'glued' with a red room temperature vulcanizing substance to a felt like strain insulator pad. The back of the tile would probably not have come off this clean, with engraved numbers still visible.
Originally posted by j0s9:
Do you think this tile could be flown or why does it have those brown spots?
|Joel Katzowitz||I recently acquired a flown tile with it's supporting paperwork and I have a few questions regarding it's history.|
With all of the recent controversy over FOIA inquiries to NASA concerning tiles, should I even open that can of worms?
I read online that the TPS NO. "AFT-4-21-119" on my paperwork can be decoded as the -4- indicates the orbiter number (OV-104) and the -21- indicates the next sequential mission for that vehicle. Obviously inferring that the tile was removed following the 20th mission (STS-86). According the tile maps I've seen, my tile was removed from the top surface of the body flap hence AFT. Can anyone confirm this theory?
The tile surface is coated with a black silicone material as opposed to a hard shell. The surface of my tile feels soft and spongy like rubber or silicone. It has "blisters" raised on it with what appear to be wear marks. I read a description on line regarding a similar tile that mentioned the coating was there to mitigate airflow issues over the tile.
I have been independently researching these questions but have haven't uncovered any satisfying answers. Thanks for any input.
Editor's note: Threads merged.
|Joel Katzowitz||I've been able to uncover some additional information about this tile which I'll be happy to share.|
There are a couple of areas on the top of the body flap where tiles have been damaged by impingement from the down-firing RCS thrusters. To reduce the degradation, NASA has coated the surface of those susceptible tiles with black RTV. The RTV maintains it's elasticity after ascent and provides protection from the plumes. The blistering and pitting on this specimen is a result of long term thruster activity.
|brody1140||I have an early shuttle tile with the following codes on it: |
V070 - 193017-438 Can anyone please tell me which shuttle it was flown on?
|garymilgrom||There is no way to tell. All we can know is that it's from the lower elevons.|
More information here
|Skuz9c1||Sorry, to hijack this thread a little, but I have a tile where the numbers don't match up to the list NASA put out above.|
It is Black if that makes a difference.
|Greggy_D||I believe that since your tile starts with VT, it is actually a test article.|
|garymilgrom||Yes that's a test piece which sounds similar to this one:|
|Skuz9c1||Thanks Gregg and Gary, I had a hunch that's what it was. But, since it wasn't on the NASA list, I wanted to make sure.|
|Spaceguy5||I have a VT tile as well. Assumed that it was a test piece, good to know that I was right.|
|garymilgrom||Anyone know what the NFI or NF1 stands for? Perhps not for installation? |
I have some other test pieces where these letters are marked on the rear of the tile too (most tiles have the entire number marked on both sides of the tile).
|dragon001||Curious if someone can confirm that VT are actual test articles... I found this site, about half way down: |
I'm trying to locate VT70-191037-027, I see that it is on the wing but I would like to see if I can get a picture of exactly where. In the general location anyway... ...to which someone replied:
This is an more interesting tile than average. Its located on the door that normally covers the orbiter's left-hand main landing gear - specifically towards the front of the door and towards its outer edge where the door hinge is located. The tile is of a type know as LI-900 which covers the bulk of the underside of the orbiters, and is a High-temperature Reusable Surface Insulation (HRSI) black tile.
|garymilgrom||I cannot confirm that ALL tiles marked VT were used for testing but here is another one, different from the black one above. I believe this tile was used during transport of Columbia (the first orbiter) to KSC before tile installation was complete. These "delivery tiles" ensured smooth airflow so as not to disrupt thermal tiles already in place. The back of this tile has the SIF pad and red RTV glue.|
|garymilgrom||Columbia showing what I believe are "real" thermal tiles plus delivery tiles and untiled areas while under construction in Palmdale.|
|garymilgrom||Here are photos of the left landing door of Atlantis. First is overall, second is closer view of the hinge area and LH identification, last is close up showing markings. I can see no tiles marked VT in this area.|
Finally - Joel here are some tiles labelled AFT that are near the fuel line door:
|Rocket Chris||LWNG = Left Wing|