NASA's Orion Spacecraft Gets Silver Metallic Heat Shield

Posted: Nov 21 2015, 8:22am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

NASA's Orion Spacecraft Gets Silver Metallic Heat Shield
Engineers developing Orion’s thermal protection system have been improving the spacecraft’s heat shield design and manufacturing process since the vehicle successfully traveled to space for the first time last year. Credit: NASA
  • NASA reveals Classic New Chrome Look for its Orion Spacecraft

NASA has just revealed the classic new chrome look for its Orion spacecraft.

NASA showcased the new visage for its Orion spacecraft. It might take astronauts into the depths of space and even to Mars – the Red Planet – one day. All futuristic versions of the spacecraft will have the selfsame shining metallic coating.

A substantial part of the spacecraft will be covered with this glittering surface paint. It is a part and parcel of an attempt to save the spacecraft from all extremes of temperature. Since outer space is either very hot or very cold, this is a necessity.

The heat shield of Orion remains its main module. This covers its underbelly. It firmly protects the rounded cone that is the spacecraft. Everytime Orion will return to our planet from outer space, the heat shield will be facing in the direction of the atmosphere.

Thus it will withstand the very hot temperatures that will get generated due to air friction. Re-entry is a precarious process at best and a hazard at worst. The heat shield will also serve to retard the free fall of the spacecraft.

A series of dark tiles will cover the rest of the Orion spacecraft. These will serve to absorb some extra heat as well. They form the black shell which is such a vital part of the space vehicle. There is more to this game than meets the eye.

On future missions, a silver, metallic-based thermal control coating will be bonded to the Orion crew module’s back shell tiles.

Orion not only needs to resist outside heat levels but it also needs to keep the inside heat levels constant. While in the milieu of deep space, the temperatures could be freezing, so some heat will have to be conserved for those on the inside of the space vehicle.

This is where the new metallic coating plays a crucial role in the whole matter. The silver metal is fixed onto the black tiles. This will keep the shield’s temperatures around 150 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit.

In space, this is just perfectly suitable for the inner occupants. This is a sort of ideal temperature range. That is because when the spacecraft is facing the sun, it will need less heat. And when it is facing away from the sun, it will need more of it.

The two temperatures will need to be titrated in accordance with the situation. The next large testing of Orion will take place three years from now. And NASA is ready to rumble. The test mission will last three weeks in space.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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