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.

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This is an intensive two-day course that introduces composite pressure vessel technology and trains students to perform visual testing (VT) inspection of COPV’s. 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-081B, AFSPCMAN 91-710 and KNPR 8715.3, 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 written 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 and reference images of actual COPV impact damage 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.

Intended Audience

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

  • Program Managers
  • Engineers
  • Safety Inspectors
  • Quality Inspectors
  • Integrators
  • Component & System Users


Tommy 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. For course technical information, please contact Mr. Tommy Yoder ( NASA Johnson Space Center White Sands Test Facility P.O. Box 20 Las Cruces, NM 88004 Phone: (575) 524-5790 Fax:(575) 524-5260


Day One

  • Terminology and Acronyms
  • Manufacturing
    • Fiber Production
    • Liner Production
    • Component production
  • Background
    • Overview and Objectives
    • Safety and Mission Assurance
  • 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
    • Hypervelocity Imapct
  • Overview of COPV Inspection Techniques
    • Visual, X-Ray, Ultrasonic, Eddy Current, Acoustic Emission
    • Flash/Infrared Thermography and Laser Shearography
  • Damage Control and Protection
    • Industry survey and findings
    • Damage Control Planning
    • Credible threat analysis
  • Additional Inspection Techniques
    • NDE techniques
    • Application of techniques
    • Health Monitoring
  • Damage Progression
    • Destructive Evaluation
    • Modeling

Day Two

  • Precision Cleaning
    • COPV related issues
    • Cleanliness level
    • Best practices
  • DOT Requirements
    • Inspection Requirements
    • Condemnation
    • Requalification
  • Review Visual Inspection and Surface Photos
  • Types of defects, origins, and importance
  • Manufacturing anomalies
  • Impact damage and variables
  • 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



Both days from 8 a.m.-5 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.


Cancellations must be made via email to 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.

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