Quality Magazine

Lockheed ‘Edges' Up to Envision

November 1, 2004

ANCHORAGE, AK-Lockheed Martin (Dallas) is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the space shuttle wings, which failed when foam insulation struck them in the 2003 destruction of Columbia as it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere. To ensure the safety of the wings in future missions, Lockheed has turned to Envision Product Design.

Envision will provide a high-resolution, large format 3-D X-ray imaging system to inspect the leading edge of the space shuttle wing. The system will be an adaptation of the company's CMOS high-energy X-ray imaging technology.

After it completed its work, NASA's Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) recommended the increased use of nondestructive testing (NDT) and the development of new NDT Technolo-gies. Lockheed is implementing these recommendations and the company believes Envision's X-ray system will help it meet CAIB Directive R3.3-1 to "develop and implement a comprehensive inspection plan to determine the structural integrity of all reinforced carbon-carbon system components."

Envision's experience in digital X-ray began in 1993, as a tool for use in the Alaskan oil industry.