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For more than three years, NASA's Orion Thermal Protection System Advanced Development Project considered eight different candidate materials, including the two final candidates, Avcoat and Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator, or PICA, both of which have proven successful in previous space missions.
Initially, the impregnated carbon exhibited slightly higher conversion of [H.sub.2]S up to 99.8% compared to 98.5% conversion from the virgin sample.
An additional layer of aluminum or plastic honeycomb material up to one inch thick, depending on the demands made of the component involved is stuck on to the mats with the help of an adhesive film, further layers of impregnated carbon fiber tissue being laminated on afterwards.