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COPV - Damage Detection Course

COPV - Damage Detection Course-

Fall - September 13-14, 2017

Register for Fall Course 





COPV DDC Details

Training for Damage to Carbon/Epoxy Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessels.

This is an intensive two day course that introduces composite pressure vessel technology.

Inspection Training for Damage to Carbon/Epoxy Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessels (COPV) is offered by NASA Johnson Space Center-White Sands Test Facility (NASA-WSTF) in conjunction with WHA International, Inc. NASA-WSTF is uniquely qualified to teach this decidedly relevant course which was developed as a result of the successful completion of the joint USAF/NASA COPV Program.

The course covers the component life-cycle from procurement through manufacturing, lifetime use and disposal. The course is based on experience with pressure vessel test and analysis developed at NASA White Sands Test Facility since the inception of the technology in the 1970's. The course has a specific focus on mechanical damage and propellant/fuel exposure effects on pressure vessels built using composites. This course is composed of both theory and practice and is structured to allow the student to learn about damage characterization and detection and understand the safety aspects of composite pressure vessels. The second day of the course includes hands-on-training on composite overwrapped pressure vessels with various types of damage.

This course satisfies the baseline training requirements of AIAA S-081A and KHB 710.2B, Appendix B to Annex E, par 2.0b for a trained visual inspector for damage to carbon/epoxy composite overwrapped pressure vessels and is an integral part of the typical COPV manufacturer and/or end user's inspector certification program.

Please join us at our next class. The course will be held at NASA White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, NM.

This is an intensive two day course that provides hands-on visual inspection training and comprehensive knowledge of composite overwrapped pressure vessel (COPV) technology.

This course satisfies the baseline requirements for trained visual inspectors for damage to carbon/epoxy composite overwrapped pressure vessels. The class provides training to meet ANSI/AIAA S-081, KNPR 8715.3, AFSPCMAN 91-710 and ISO 14623 requirements.

Attendees will receive a course handbook, a CD of actual COPV impact damage, and an inspection kit with a variety of aerospace-refined tools to aid in COPV visual inspection.  Students also receive 1.5 Continuing Education Credits (or 15 Professional Development Hours for Professional Engineers) and a certificate of completion, which is nationally accepted as meeting the aerospace standards for Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessels.

Note: Foreign Nationals (non-US citizens) require a minimum of 45 days to process security clearance. 
Please contact us for the most current security clearance application form.

Course Schedule

COPV Course InstructorsDay One from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Day Two from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.    

This intensive two-day course, divided into multiple sections, covers all COPV technology.

To customize the learning experience, the course opens with discussion about the general education level and needs of course participants. Manufacturing techniques are discussed, from the manufacturing of the base fiber to the liners, and the filament winding of the final component, conveyed by numerous cross-sectioned samples and winding videos. The United States Air Force (USAF) NASA program data for mechanical damage, sustained load, and material compatibility is reviewed.

In the impact control section, requirements of the damage control plan, conduction of a credible threat analysis, and elements of meeting damage control and protection are covered. Additional protection schemes demonstrate the importance of COPV protection during all phases of processing; even including shipping containers before the vessel is integrated to the vehicle, as well as the protective covers used post-integration. Complementary nondestructive evaluation (NDE) techniques investigated during the USAF/NASA program are discussed, along with new and emerging techniques.

Laboratory sessions cover available NDE techniques, the photo reference guide, and an instructor's walkthrough of a visual inspection. Field inspections of program-damaged flight-qualified COPVs are conducted with groups of two performing detailed visual inspections on as many as ten COPVs in field-like environments concluding with a review of the findings and an in-depth discussion of results. This combination of techniques provides a well-rounded understanding of the technology and qualification to perform visual inspections of Gr/Ep COPVs.

COPV Damage Detection Course Objectives & Content

Day One

  • Terminology and Acronyms
  • ManufacturingCOPV class example
    • Fiber Production
    • Component production
  • Overview of COPV Damage Mechanisms
    • COPV in the undamaged condition
    • Failure mode/safe-life of undamaged COPVs
    • Effects of impact damage
    • Stress Rupture
    • Material compatibility
  • Overview of Impact Control
    • Threat analysis
    • Visual damage threshold
    • Impact control plan
  • Overview of Impact Protection
    • Shipping Containers
    • Indicator covers
    • Hard-shell laminate covers
  • Overview of COPV Inspection Techniques
    • Visual, X-Ray, Ultrasonic, Eddy Current, Acoustic Emission
    • Flash/Infrared Thermography and Laser Shearography

Day Two

  • Receiving and Periodic Inspections
    • Visual inspection
    • X-Ray of liner
    • Record requirements
  • Laboratory Session
    • IR Thermography
    • Acoustic Impedance Testing
    • Thermal deply analysis and results
  • Laboratory Sessions
    • Types of defects, origins, and significance
    • Manufacturing anomalies
    • Impact damage and variables
  • Field Training Sessions: COPV Visual Inspection
    • Multiple damaged FLIGHT COPVs
    • Numerous damage levels and types
    • Normal manufacturing indications
  • Course Completion
    • Certificate of course completion
    • Confidence to assess actual COPV damage

The course is designed for people involved in composite pressure vessel technology including:

  • Program Managers
  • Engineers
  • Safety Inspectors
  • Quality Inspectors
  • Integrators
  • Component & System Users
Students receive 1.5 Continuing Education Credits (or 15 Professional Development Hours for Professional Engineers) and a certificate of training to the ANSI/AIAA S-081A Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessel standard.


Meet the Experts

COPV Course Instructor - Dr. Harold BeesonDr. Harold Beeson is the Chief of the NASA Materials and Components Laboratories Office at the NASA Johnson Space Center White Sands Test Facility (WSTF). Prior to being named Chief of the Laboratories Office he was the WSTF project manager for the joint U.S. Air Force/NASA Enhanced Technology for Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessel Program (COPV), and has also conducted stress-rupture testing of graphite fiber and modeling efforts to predict the effects of impact damage at WSTF. In addition Dr. Beeson led the development of the WSTF COPV inspection training course which is currently taught internationally. Dr. Beeson is a member of the AIAA COPV Standards working group and the NESC Composite Pressure Vessel Working Group and has authored many publications in the areas of composite damage, oxygen system safety, hydrogen system safety, and spacecraft and aircraft fire safety. He has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of New Mexico.





COPV Course Instructor - Tommy YoderTommy B. Yoder (B.S. Mechanical Eng., NMSU) is the composite pressure vessel and structures group leader for ongoing programs at NASA WSTF. This includes impact, stress rupture and sustained load testing of Kevlar®, Carbon, and Zylon® composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs). He is also currently involved in the AIAA COPV and NGV2 standards working groups as well as a member of technical advisory groups for the NESC, STS, ISS, CEV, and NGV2 visual inspection certification. He was senior test conductor for the joint USAF/NASA COPV damage tolerance and detection program, APU Fuel tank fleet leader program, and the ATLAS V solid rocket motor case visual damage threshold program.



COPV Course Instructors at Shuttle Launch PadFor course technical information, please contact Mr. Tommy Yoder (tommy.b.yoder@nasa.gov).
NASA Johnson Space Center
White Sands Test Facility
P.O. Box 20
Las Cruces, NM 88004
Phone: (575) 524-5790 Fax:(575) 524-5260

High Speed Video Recording of a Hydraulic COPV Failure

Terms of Product

Training Services Agreement»

Cancellations must be in writing. Fax cancellations to 575-541-3621, attention NASA COPV Course Registration. Include the attendee’s name and the date of the course for which they were registered. If the course is postponed or cancelled by NASA-WSTF, your course fee will be refunded in full, including administrative fees.* (WHA is not responsible for any other non-refundable course-related expenses.)


  • Refund deadline is 30 business days prior to the course start date.
  • Full refund, less administrative fee,* will be given if cancellation is made on or by the refund deadline.
  • No refunds will be made after the refund deadline.
  • If registrant is unable to attend, course fees can be transferred to another person or credited toward a future course. In the event that course fees increase, registrant is responsible for the difference. Arrangements must be made prior to the course date.
*All confirmed registration course fees include a non-refundable $250 administrative fee. All fees are in US dollars.

If you have any questions or special access needs contact us at 1-575-523-5623.