Every remaining Space Shuttle mission will carry non-oxide adhesive experimental (NOAX) tile-repair paste, NASA has decided.

Due to NOAX's short shelf-life, ATK makes the material at NASA's Marshall Spaceflight Center in Alabama just before launch. NOAX Revision D was ordered from ATK in a NASA solicitation dated 3 May. During Space Shuttle Discovery's STS 121 mission, astronauts repaired sample damaged tiles using NOAX. Upon their return, two of the repaired tiles successfully completed arc jet re-entry simulation tests.

Shuttle Atlantis will carry NOAX

"Two cartridges of NOAX will be carried on every Shuttle flight" until the programme ends in 2010, says NASA.

The material is still undergoing qualification tests, the results of which were expected at the end of last week. Space Shuttle Atlantis will carry NOAX for its next mission, STS 115, to launch on 27 August at the earliest. If the launch results in little foam debris, like last July's STS 121, NASA expects the 14 December STS 116 launch to be the first after sunset since the Space Shuttle Endeavour STS 113 mission's November 2002 lift-off.

Source: Flight International