Assembling the Test Fixture

  • In preperation for a test, the completed test fixture was assembeled to contain two EHI grids, a carbon fiber honeycomb plate, and a block of TPS material
  • The top EHI was plugged into the High Speed DAQ and the bottom EHI was added for post impact probing just in case the projectile made it all the way thorugh TPS material
  • The orange sticker on the center of the carbon fiber indicates where the projectile will be aimed

Mounting the Test Fixture

  • An engineer from the NASA White Sands Test Facility is shown here mounting our test fixture in the test chamber
  • Below the test fixture, the protective box containing the high speed data aquisition system can be seen. Also apparent are the wires connection the DAQ to the EHI grid at the front of the test fixture

Depressurizing the Test Chamber

  • The test chamber must be brought to a near vaccum before the projectile can be shot
  • Assuming there are no leaks that need to be fixed, this process takes approximately a half an hour and must be done before each shot

After the Impact

  • This first picture shows the that projectile went all the way through the carbon fiber honeycomb.
  • While not clear from this picture, debries also impacted and damaged the TPS material behind the carbon fiber honeycomb


  • As shown in the picture below, the projectile broke several of EHI traces which demonstrated the feasibility of this form of impact detection
  • The battery powering the high speed data aquisiotn system failed during this test, but we were able to demonstrate that it functioned properly during a later test
  • For a complete description of each of the tests and their results, please refer to the Team Impact Final Report