Technicians at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida recently finished meticulously applying more than 180 blocks of ablative material to the heat shield for the Orion spacecraft set to carry astronauts around the Moon on Artemis II.

The heat shield is one of the most critical elements of Orion and protects the capsule and the astronauts inside from the nearly 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures, about half as hot at the Sun, experienced during reentry through Earth’s atmosphere when coming home from lunar velocities.

Prior to installation, several large blocks of the ablative material called AVCOAT were produced at the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. They were then shipped to Kennedy and machined into 186 unique smaller blocks before being applied by the technicians onto the heat shield’s underlying titanium skeleton and carbon fiber skin.

To continue preparing the heat shield, engineers will conduct non-destructive evaluations to look for voids in the bond lines, as well as measure the steps and gaps between the blocks. The gaps will be filled with adhesive material and then reassessed. The heatshield will then undergo a thermal test after which it will be sealed, painted and then taped to help weather on-orbit thermal conditions. Once all testing has been completed, later this year the heatshield will be installed and bolted to the crew module.

NASA is working to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024. Orion, along with NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, the Human Landing System and the Gateway in orbit around the Moon, are NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration. Artemis II will be the first crewed mission of Orion atop the SLS rocket.

Image Credit: NASA/Isaac Watson

美国宇航局佛罗里达肯尼迪航天中心的技术人员最近完成了对猎户座飞船的隔热罩的精心组装,将超过180块的烧蚀材料安装到了猎户座飞船上,以便在阿尔忒弥斯II号上将宇航员运送到月球周围。

隔热罩是猎户座最重要的元素之一,可以保护飞船和内部的宇航员免受从月球速度返回地球大气层重新进入地球时所遭受的近5,000华氏温度的影响,温度约为太阳的一半。

在安装之前,几个被称为AVCOAT的块烧蚀材料在该机构位于新奥尔良的Michoud组装工厂生产。然后它们被运到肯尼迪,加工成186个独特的小块,然后由技术人员安装到隔热罩的底层钛骨架和碳纤维外壳上。

为了继续准备隔热罩,工程师将进行无损评估,以查找粘结线中的空隙,并测量测量砌块之间的高低和间隙。缝隙将用粘合材料填充,然后重新评估。然后,将对隔热板进行热测试,然后将其密封,上漆并用胶带粘贴以适应轨道上的热条件。一旦所有测试完成,今年晚些时候将安装隔热板,并用螺栓固定在宇航员模块上。

美国国家航空航天局(NASA)正致力于在2024年前让第一位女性和下一位男性登陆月球。猎户座与美国宇航局的太空发射系统(SLS)火箭人类登陆系统和绕月轨道的通道是美国宇航局深空探索的支柱。阿尔忒弥斯II号将是猎户座在SLS火箭上的首次载人任务。

影像来源:NASA/Isaac Watson

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