[SatNews] The temperatures are extreme—reaching 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit (2200 C) during a scorching re-entry heating...
A milestone was met when technicians at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida attached the world’s largest heat shield to a pathfinding version of NASA’s Orion crew capsule. This put the project closer to the timeline of the first unmanned test flight later in the on a crucial mission dubbed Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1).
The heat shield measures 16.5 feet (5 m) in diameter. Lockheed Martin and NASA technicians mated the heat shield to the bottom of the capsule during assembly work inside the Operations and Checkout High Bay facility at KSC.
The Orion EFT-1 un-crewed test flight will examine the effectiveness of the heat shield in protecting the vehicle as well as human astronauts in the future. The temperatures are extreme—reaching 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit (2200 C) during a scorching re-entry heating in which three parachutes will open to slow the speed for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
Once everything checks out the spacecraft will carry America’s astronauts on voyages venturing farther into deep space than ever before past the Moon to asteroids, Mars and more.