Risk of burn-through raised at NASA in 1988. Langley wind tunnels to probe shuttle wing thermal questions.
NASA Johnson Space Center documents from as far back as 1988 show that wing roughness, similar to that associated with the orbiter Columbia's left wing, could result in a catastrophic burn-through when combined with potentially significant wing impact damage resembling that being investigated in the Feb. 1 reentry accident. One of these documents (right) presented in a 1988 shuttle flight readiness review specifically spelled out how gouge damage at or behind the wing glove could result ...
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