Heat Shield Added to Orion Spacecraft
By Space Coast Daily // June 1, 2014
heat shield measures 16.5 feet in diameter
ABOVE VIDEO: NASA is launching the next generation of space exploration craft which will take humans beyond Low Earth Orbit to begin a new era of space exploration, to local asteroids, for potential mining expeditions or the moons of Mars.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — The world’s largest heat shield, measuring 16.5 feet in diameter, has been successfully attached to the Orion spacecraft.
The heat shield is made from a single seamless piece of Avcoat ablator. It will be tested on Orion’s first flight in December 2014 as it protects the spacecraft from temperatures reaching 4000 degrees Fahrenheit.
“It’s the first flight of a brand new program,” said Mike Sarafin, lead flight director for Orion’s Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1).
“There’s been a lot of testing done on the ground, but we’re going to really, no kidding, prove that this thing can fly.”
Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle is a planned, beyond-low Earth orbit manned spacecraft that is being built by Lockheed Martin for NASA, and Astrium for the European Space Agency for crewed missions to the Moon, asteroids and Mars.