Tuesday, May 08, 2007

NASA Seeking Alternate Heat Shields?

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Despite the treacherous journey up, one of the greatest dangers of space travel involves re-entry, as Columbia unfortunately demonstrated. Now it seems as if NASA is selecting several companies to develop "alternative heat shields" as insurance, just in case the primary ones fail.

(United Press International) NASA has selected The Boeing Co. and the Textron Systems Corp. to develop alternate heat shield materials for the Orion crew exploration spacecraft.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said the contracts will support development and testing of three alternative heat shield materials that would be used if there are difficulties with the primary material.

This is probably a wise thing for NASA, as it can ill-afford another space tragedy on its books. Although these alternative heat shields are intended for "general Earth use," this technology could be easily adapted for future Martian missions in the distant future, not to mention Titan as well.

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1 comment:

  1. Maybe they should be looking at Troy Hurtubise's fire paste as a simple alternative. The Discovery Channel filmed an interview with him wearing a helmet coated in the paste, while TDC's film crew aimed a blowtorch at his head for ten minutes (Discovery Channel supplied the blowtorch). The stuff is about three orders of magnitude cheaper than the tiles used on the shuttle orbiters.


You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

But if you choose the former, you'll definitely get a better view.

~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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