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  Space Shuttle Tile Co. thermal tile pieces

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Author Topic:   Space Shuttle Tile Co. thermal tile pieces
denali414
Member

Posts: 129
From: Raleigh, NC USA
Registered: Aug 2017

posted 12-29-2017 10:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for denali414   Click Here to Email denali414     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Got a lot of space memorabilia and included was a small plastic case with a triangle piece of tile material. Also included in case was a little authentic letter from "The Space Shuttle Tile Co." stating it was from the late 1970s and Lockheed Space and Missile Facility in California when it was legally allowed to do so. Kept in safekeeping with the Noble family and they have been investigated by the Inspector General and found no laws were broken.

Found this a very interesting story and item. Does anyone have more information about this? Looked up company and only two employees now. Not much else.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 38556
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-29-2017 10:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Space Shuttle Tile Co. is no more, and it was never much more than a home business. About a decade ago, the remaining stock of thermal insulation material was sold to The Space Store, and they provide more background their website:
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.

From what I recall, part of the distinction that made Noble's material legal is that its production preceded the provision of tiles for the shuttle program. So, while the material may be similar in composition, it was not removed from NASA's shuttle thermal protection system supply.

denali414
Member

Posts: 129
From: Raleigh, NC USA
Registered: Aug 2017

posted 12-29-2017 11:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for denali414   Click Here to Email denali414     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ahh, that makes more sense. Since it was before the first launch, it's not flown material or was used in testing on Columbia. Appreciate the help, thought an interesting story.

Mike_The_First
Member

Posts: 402
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2014

posted 01-02-2018 03:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike_The_First   Click Here to Email Mike_The_First     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To piggy-back, is there a difference between the item being sold in the presentation this souvenir (besides the pins, frame, and price)?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 38556
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-02-2018 09:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not much is known about the source of the souvenir's material, but it appears to have been produced specifically for that package, not scraps collected at some point before the space shuttle program began, as the case with the Noble-sourced material.

The two are similar in so much that the material was sufficiently separated from the shuttle program to avoid being caught up in ITAR regulations.

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