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Tessellator
This project is no longer active.
Head: Kevin Dowling
Contact: Hagen Schempf
Mailing address:
Carnegie Mellon University
Robotics Institute
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Associated center(s) / consortia:
 Field Robotics Center (FRC)
Overview
Tessellator inspects and waterproofs each of the 17,000 tiles that coat the space shuttle's underside, saving humans a laborious task that lasts from the time the shuttle lands at Kennedy Space Center until just before liftoff. By inspecting tiles more accurately than the human eye, Tessellator reduces the need for multiple reinspections. It also injects into each tile a toxic waterproofing chemical, which prevents the lightweight, silica tiles from absorbing water. Human workers have had to wear heavy suits and respirators to inject the chemical, all the while maneuvering in a crowded work area.