KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. - In the Orbiter Processing Facility, Jim Landy (left), NDE specialist with United Space Alliance (USA), prepares to examine a Reinforced Carbon Carbon panel using flash thermography. Helping out, at right, is Dan Phillips, also with USA. Attached to the leading edge of the wing of the orbiters, the gray carbon composite RCC panels have sufficient strength to withstand the aerodynamic forces experienced during launch and reentry, which can reach as high as 800 pounds per square foot. The operating range of RCC is from minus 250º F to about 3,000º F, the temperature produced by friction with the atmosphere during reentry.
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