Teamed with KeyMaster Technologies, Kennewick, Washington, the Marshall Space Flight Center engineers have developed a portable vacuum analyzer that performs on-the-spot chemical analyses under field conditions? a task previously only possible in a chemical laboratory. The new capability is important not only to the aerospace industry, but holds potential for broad applications in any industry that depends on materials analysis, such as the automotive and pharmaceutical industries. Weighing in at a mere 4 pounds, the newly developed handheld vacuum X-ray fluorescent analyzer can identify and characterize a wide range of elements, and is capable of detecting chemical elements with low atomic numbers, such as sodium, aluminum and silicon. It is the only handheld product on the market with that capability. Aluminum alloy verification is of particular interest to NASA because vast amounts of high-strength aluminum alloys are used in the Space Shuttle propulsion system such as the External Tank, Main Engine, and Solid Rocket Boosters. This capability promises to be a boom to the aerospace community because of unique requirements, for instance, the need to analyze Space Shuttle propulsion systems on the launch pad. Those systems provide the awe-inspiring rocket power that propels the Space Shuttle from Earth into orbit in mere minutes. The scanner development also marks a major improvement in the quality assurance field, because screws, nuts, bolts, fasteners, and other items can now be evaluated upon receipt and rejected if found to be substandard. The same holds true for aluminum weld rods. The ability to validate the integrity of raw materials and partially finished products before adding value to them in the manufacturing process will be of benefit not only to businesses, but also to the consumer, who will have access to a higher value product at a cheaper price. Three vacuum X-ray scanners are already being used in the Space Shuttle Program. The External Tank Project Office is using one for aluminum alloy analysis, while a Marshall contractor is evaluating alloys with another unit purchased for the Space Shuttle Main Engine Office. The Reusable Solid Rocket Motor Project Office has obtained a scanner that is being used to test hardware and analyze materials. In this photograph, Richard Booth, Marshall Engineering Directorate, and Wanda Hudson, ATK Thiokol, use an enhanced vacuum X-ray fluorescent scanner to analyze materials in an F-1 engine, which was used to boost the Saturn V rocket from Earth?s orbit that carried astronauts to the moon in the 1960s.