Technicians at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center have installed a Lockheed Martin-built heat shield technology at the bottom of a crew module designed for the Orion spacecraft.
The installation team performed a fit check of the heat cover before securing it on the vehicle to ensure all of the bolt fittings were in their proper position, NASA said Thursday.
Jules Schneider, Lockheed’s Orion senior manager for KSC operations, said the milestone signified that Orion is nearly complete as there will now be little to no access to the components of the spacecraft.
The heat shield is designed to protect spacecraft systems from very high temperatures when it returns to Earth after a three-week mission during Exploration Mission-1.
Lockheed formed the surface of the heat shield using large blocks of avcoat, which have also been used to develop the heat shields of the Apollo and Orion Exploration Flight Test-1 space vehicles.
The company’s technicians also applied a coat of white epoxy paint on the shield’s surface, then covered it with aluminized tape that can absorb solar heat and infrared emissions.