Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Apollo Heat Shield Uncrated After 35 Years, Helps New Crew Vehicle Design

Date:
October 9, 2008
Source:
NASA/Ames Research Center
Summary:
NASA scientists developing the next generation of exploration vehicles and heat shields for NASA's Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle experienced "Christmas in July" when they uncrated the heat shields used on the Apollo missions some 35 years ago. These shields now are being analyzed to help with the development and engineering process.

Ethiraj Venkatapathy of NASA Ames, Betsy Pugel of NASA Goddard and Hanna Szczepanowska of the National Air and Space Museum Conservator, examine the 1966 Apollo test vehicle heat shield.
Credit: NASA GSFC/Debbie McCallum

NASA scientists developing the next generation of exploration vehicles and heat shields for NASA's Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle experienced "Christmas in July" when they uncrated the heat shields used on the Apollo missions some 35 years ago. These shields now are being analyzed to help with the development and engineering process.

Teams of NASA scientists and engineers working on the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle Thermal Protection System Advanced Development Project went to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum Garber Facility in Suitland, Md., July 31 through Aug. 1, 2008. The Garber Facility curators and conservators collect, preserve and restore all things air and space. This includes airplanes, spacecraft, and spacesuits.

The Orion teams included members from both NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

"We started working together at the end of June to track down any Apollo-era heat shields that they had in storage," said Elizabeth (Betsy) Pugel of the Detector Systems Branch at NASA Goddard. "We located one and opened it. It was like a nerd Christmas for us!"

The Orion team was interested in the archived heat shield material because it included an Apollo heat shield that flew into Low Earth Orbit and returned to Earth on August 26, 1966.

"We are examining the design of the carrier structure (the metal structure that connects the heat shield to the vessel that contains the astronauts) and the heat shield material’s thermal response," Pugel said.

"The Smithsonian has been generous in their providing large pieces of the heat shield that we will be doing destructive and non-destructive testing on during the months before Orion’s Preliminary Design Review," said Matthew Gasch, a research scientist at NASA Ames. "This information will further our confidence in our design and materials development."

Orion will be capable of carrying crew and cargo to the space station. It will be able to rendezvous with a lunar landing module and an Earth departure stage in low-Earth orbit to carry crews to the moon and, one day, to Mars-bound vehicles assembled in low-Earth orbit.

Orion will be the Earth entry vehicle for lunar and Mars returns. Orion’s design will borrow its shape from the capsules of the past, but takes advantage of 21st century technology in computers, electronics, life support, propulsion and heat protection systems.

Making its first flights early in the next decade, Orion is part of the Constellation Program to send human explorers back to the moon, and then onward to Mars and other destinations in the solar system.

For more information about Orion, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/orion


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Ames Research Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Ames Research Center. "Apollo Heat Shield Uncrated After 35 Years, Helps New Crew Vehicle Design." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081008231029.htm>.
NASA/Ames Research Center. (2008, October 9). Apollo Heat Shield Uncrated After 35 Years, Helps New Crew Vehicle Design. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081008231029.htm
NASA/Ames Research Center. "Apollo Heat Shield Uncrated After 35 Years, Helps New Crew Vehicle Design." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081008231029.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Supply Ship Takes Off for International Space Station

Supply Ship Takes Off for International Space Station

AFP (July 30, 2014) The European Space Agency's fifth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-5) is takes off to the International Space Station on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship

Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship

AP (July 30, 2014) Arianespace launched a rocket Tuesday from French Guiana carrying a robotic cargo ship to deliver provisions to the International Space Station. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins