New technique for designing and manufacturing heat shields under study by NASA scientists.
Through NASA’s Space Technology Research Fellowship (NSTRF) program, a fresh approach to designing and manufacturing heat-thwarting thermal protection systems (TPS) for spacecraft is being developed and tested, offering the promise of fabricating larger tile sizes while reducing labor, cost and waste. TPS, or heatshields, form the outer surface of spacecraft – called the aeroshell. As shown in above visualization, heatshields provide protection as the vehicle plunges through planetary atmospheres. This technology is critical to assuring mission success.
The NSTRF program is funded by the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). The fellowships allow students to carry out inventive, space technology research at their respective campuses and at NASA Centers and/or at nonprofit U.S. research and development laboratories.
Image credit Joe Brock, NASA Ames Research Center