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Reinforced Carbon-Carbon

Mission: STS-1 Columbia
STS-2 Columbia
STS-3 Columbia
  Crew: John W. Young
Robert L. Crippen
Joseph H. Engle
Richard H. Truly
Jack R. Lousma
C. Gordon Fullerton
Launches: April 12, 1981
November 12, 1981
March 22, 1982
Landings: April 14, 1981
November 14, 1981
March 30, 1982
Duration: 2 days, 6 hours
2 days, 6 hours
8 days, 4 minutes
Comment: RCC was a focus of the Columbia tragedy investigation

This sample of reinforced carbon-carbon (RCC) material was flown on Columbia missions STS-1 through STS-3. RCC provides protection above 2,700° F, yet keeps the aluminum structure of the orbiter below its 350° maximum. RCC is installed on the wing leading edges; the nose cap, including an area immediately aft of the nose on the lower surface (chine panel); and the immediate area around the forward orbiter/external tank attachment. This piece was presented by LTV Corporation (Vought), the company that developed RCC, to Gemini and Apollo astronaut Michael Collins who served as LTV's Vice President at the time of the Space Shuttle flights. Collins autographed the reverse before parting with the acrylic from his personal collection.

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