NASA used “Geomagic Studio,” 3D software developed by RTP-based Geomagic, to check on damage to space shuttle Endeavour before it returned to earth last week.

Geomgic’s product has been used to check shuttles since the Columbia disaster in 2003 when it broke up during re-entry due to damage to heat-reflecting tiles. Geomagic Studio is used when NASA contractors review images taken of shuttles from a scanner mounted on a robotic arm.

“Tile damage is part of space travel,” says Rob Black, Geomagic account executive for NASA. “Video in 2D can pick up some of it, but the details are only discernable through 3D analysis.”

Four scanes were used in modeling damage done to the Endeavor. Subcontractor Boeing performed the scans using Geomagic. NASA concluded the damage was not sufficient enough to require repairs, which would have necessitated a space walk by members of the shuttle’s crew.