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  Shuttle HRSI tile numbers: yellow vs white

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Author Topic:   Shuttle HRSI tile numbers: yellow vs white

Posts: 43
From: NY, NY
Registered: Nov 2014

posted 01-02-2019 04:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mf451   Click Here to Email mf451     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've seen a number of black shuttle HRSI (High-Temperature Reusable Surface) tiles, some with the serial number printed in yellow font, others printed in white. Is there any significance to the different colors of the numbering?


Posts: 709
From: Orlando, FL
Registered: Jan 2014

posted 01-03-2019 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chuckster01   Click Here to Email Chuckster01     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is my understanding, and others may correct me if I am wrong, the yellow numbered/lettered tiles are early program era items.

I have several VT70 (Vehicle Test) tiles and an early Columbia tile V070 (Vehicle Orbiter) that was removed before the STS-1 flight. I assume during the tile issues that were well documented. All of these tiles have yellow letters and numbers.

Most of the flown tiles I have seen and sold through the American Space Museum auctions have been white letters/numbers. I have seen flown tiles with yellow text but again early examples.

This is my observation of shuttle tiles that I have seen and collected and is not based on any documentation I have ever seen but hope this helps.


Posts: 151
From: Michigan
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 01-04-2019 12:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for thisismills   Click Here to Email thisismills     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Created a composite image of the different types of tile identification paint markings, HRSI (black) and LRSI (white).

Types A/C/E have "stenciled" style lettering while types B/D/F have "dot-matrix" printed style lettering.

An example below where both types A and B are used on the same tile. The abbreviations DEN (for densification) and PVT (for pulse velocity test) have been added by hand after those processes were completed (also done in white paint in other examples).

Chuck, I agree with your observations that black tiles with yellow ID number paint (Type A) that have come up for auction seem to mainly exist for the earliest missions of Columbia. Type B tiles are frequently seen unused as part of the Tiles for Teachers program.

For the black HRSI tiles, I've found photos of Columbia at the time of STS-1 with both Types A and B, Challenger having mostly Type B, and shots of Endeavour after its final flight show it having a mish-mash of A, B, C and D (notably much less of A). Many of Endeavour's A's are what I'd term "special tiles" that contain copious additional markings and some even with large painted arrows. So, I wonder if yellow was relegated to this type of duty later in the program with most new tiles IDs painted in white.

A report from STS-2 post flight inspection gives the composition of the yellow identification paint as FEDERAL SPECIFICATIONS TT-L-32A, LACQUER, CELLULOSE NITRATE, GLOSS, AIRCRAFT USE, ORANGE YELLOW 13538 (see table 2 for more details).

All times are CT (US)

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