NASA upgrades Orion’s thermal protection system for next mission


New Delhi: When it comes to spacecraft endurance, NASA’s Orion takes the cake, in terms of withstanding hot and cold temperatures in the process of going in and out of space.

Now, in a bid to bolster its efforts to prepare humans for deeper space missions, NASA engineers have refined the key thermal protection system of Orion — new exploration spacecraft designed to ferry astronauts to asteroid and Mars.

Therefore, enhancing the overall system in advance of the spacecraft’s next mission – a flight that will put Orion through the harshest set of conditions yet, is NASA’s latest mission.

According to NASA, Orion’s thermal protection system is one of the most critical parts of the spacecraft and is responsible for protecting it and the future astronauts it will carry home from deep space destinations. It consists of the spacecraft’s main heat shield that faces into the atmosphere on re-entry to slow the spaceship down and also the grid of tiles known as the back shell. During Orion’s next mission atop the agency’s Space Launch System rocket, called Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), the spacecraft will be in space for more than three weeks and return to Earth under even faster and hotter conditions than during its last flight.

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