NASA Upgrades Orion Thermal Protection System for Future manned Missions to Deep Space

NASA Upgrades Orion Thermal Protection System for Future manned Missions to Deep Space

NASA is shielding its Orion spacecraft that is aimed to carry humans to deep-space through the 'harshest set of conditions yet'. The deep-space spacecraft is being shielded with a new silver heat shield to protect it from electric charges during the almost 40, 000 kph return velocities from the vicinity of the Moon. The space agency reported that its latest mission is to enhance the overall system of the spacecraft in advance to make it capable of bearing harsh conditions.

According to sources, the new silver coating will help spacecraft withstand temperatures of up to and over 2200C. Scientists said that when the spacecraft re-enters Earth from space, its temperature is expected exceed 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, but when the capsule remains in deep-space its temperature will fall. Lockheed Martin, Orion's prime contractor, has recently completed a heat shield development unit.

The heat shield will be made of about 180 blocks that can be made simultaneously with the other heat shield components to streamline the labour-and-time-intensive manufacturing process. The new silver metallic shielding is
16.5 feet (five metres) across and is considered as the largest heat shield ever built for a spacecraft. The space agency reported "Orion's thermal protection system is essential to successful future missions".


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