New Thermal Heat System for Orion Advances Deeper Space Exploration

After the first launch of the Orion Spacecraft in 2014, NASA has been advancing their project for future manned missions. NASA aims to have a man on Mars in the upcoming years. Before doing so, the proper ship must be designed. When looking at the first unmanned flight test of the orion spacecraft, the initial Thermal Heat System safely delivered. However, the new issue lies when entering the lunar atmosphere and reentering the earth's atmosphere. The Orion Spacecraft is expecting greater speeds and temperatures, something that must be combated in order to safely travel when humans go on board. The ship reentered the atmosphere during its first test at a speed of roughly 30,000 feet per second and temperatures reaching 4,000 degrees fahrenheit. The next test is expected to face a speed of 36,000 feet per second and even greater temperatures. However, as the design of the ship continues, there is a need for better temperature control. The challenge resides in using material that keeps the ship in a consistent range. The new Thermal Protection System will be equipped with a silver, metallic-based thermal coating that is then fused with the black shell tiles on the front. The ship’s 180 man made tiles pared with the coating will create a more controlled temperature environment. When there is no sun, temperatures drop, and reversely increase as direct sunlight makes contact. With the new and improved Thermal Protection System produced by Lockheed Martin, the ship will sit in the ideal range of -150-550 degrees fahrenheit. This new technological improvement drives Orion’s mission of being a stepping stone towards eventually putting a man on Mars. Without this development, it would not have been safe enough for humans to board the spacecraft. This seemingly minor improvement has far greater application for future space travel.

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Garcia, Mark. "Engineers Refine Thermal Protection System for Orion’s Next Mission." NASA. NASA, 19 Nov. 2015. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.
Kremer, Ken. "Orion Gets Beefed Up, Silver-metallic Thermal Protection Coating for next Flight on EM-1." Orion Gets Beefed Up, Silver-metallic Thermal Protection Coating for next Flight on EM-1., 1 Dec. 2015. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.

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