Ottawa-based Neptec Design Group, a provider of 3D vision systems, has completed its final preparations for NASA's flight STS-121. NASA will use Neptec's Laser Camera System to inspect critical areas of the shuttle Discovery's exterior while in orbit, to ensure the shuttle is safe to return through Earth's atmosphere. The mission is scheduled to launch July 1 at 3:48 p.m. Eastern Time from the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral.
The outside of the shuttle's external fuel tank is a potential source of foam loss, which could cause damage to the shuttle. Neptec's camera, mounted on an inspection boom on the Canadarm, is prepared to inspect these potential areas of damage. The camera will provide NASA's ground crew with a 3D image of the area.
Neptec's Laser Camera System is a wide-angle, high-speed, high-precision laser scanner. Installed on an extension boom connected to the Canadarm, the scanner can inspect hard-to-reach areas of the underside of the Shuttle, which were previously invisible from inside the Shuttle.