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Ablation Modeling Program Determines Minimum Weight of Protection Material
August 16, 2011

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Innovators at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) have developed a software program that determines the minimum weight of an n-layer thermal protection system (TPS) material to meet mission and spacecraft parameters and constraints. The Automated Engineering Scientific Optimization Program – Standard Ablation Program (AESOP-STAB) was first developed at JSC in the early 1970s as part of the Gemini and Apollo programs. It has been modified recently to be more generic and has applicability to other heat shield protection ablators with associated differences in material composition and chemistry. AESOP-STAB can calculate a required TPS thickness for a specific temperature constraint or determine temperatures and recession for a specific design thickness. This software may be released for U.S. Government purposes only.


  • Safe: Ensures there is adequate TPS material on the heat shield during the critical entry phase for manned and unmanned space vehicles
  • Quantitative: Helps determine the minimum and maximum thickness required for tile repairs
  • Efficient: Helps reduce the thermal margin required in the TPS sizing process
  • Optimized: Identifies the material properties that are key in reducing subsystem weight
  • Innovative: Models the behavior of an ablative TPS material during atmospheric reentry, combining chemical reactions, material phase change, heat transfer and flow through porous media


  • Organizations with requirements to calculate heat shield sizing and conduct thermal analysis for re-entry space vehicles or ballistic missiles

Licensing and Partnering Opportunity

This technology is being made available through JSC's Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office, which seeks to transfer technology into and out of NASA to benefit the space program and U.S. industry. NASA invites companies to consider licensing this technology for commercial applications.

Contact Information

If you would like more information about this technology or about NASA's technology transfer program, please contact:

Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office
NASA's Johnson Space Center
Phone: 281-483-3809
E-mail: jsc-techtran@mail.nasa.gov

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Page Last Updated: January 16th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator