Thermal imaging helps improve safety in space

Flir Systems (Wilsonville, OR, USA) has released details showing how its infrared camera systems were selected and used by NASA Langley Research Center for its shuttle and International Space Station programs.

Thermal imaging helps improve safety in space
Thermal imaging helps improve safety in space

Flir Systems (Wilsonville, OR, USA) has released details showing how its infrared camera systems were selected and used by NASA Langley Research Center for its shuttle and International Space Station programs.

The US Space Agency initially opted in favor of infrared technology to inspect possible tile damage on the heat shields of its space shuttles following the 2003 Columbia space shuttle catastrophe. Following a thorough evaluation of all infrared cameras on the market, the NASA engineers chose a ThermaCAM S65 camera developed by Flir Systems to undertake its investigative research.

Now, a newly available applications report describes how NASA Langley Research Center and Flir Systems worked together to develop an adapted version of the infrared camera that was incorporated into Discovery and Atlantis space shuttle missions as a contingency to aid visual inspection should damage occur on the wing leading edge.

Having understood the benefits of thermal imaging, engineers at NASA Langley elected to use the adapted Flir infrared camera system on the International Space Station for possible leak detection and machinery inspection applications.

-- by Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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