NASA Invites Media To View Orion Heat Shield Near Boston

           NASA Invites Media To View Orion Heat Shield Near Boston

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2013

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA officials will visit
Textron Defense Systems in Wilmington, Mass., Wednesday, July 17, to view
progress being made on the heat shield for the agency's Orion spacecraft.

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Orion will launch on Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) next year. The flight
will evaluate the design and performance of the spacecraft that will send
humans on future missions to an asteroid and Mars.

News media representatives are invited to attend a 9:15 a.m. EDT tour of the
Textron Defense Systems facility to view the heat shield in its fabrication
area and custom-built equipment and robotic systems necessary to build the
heat shield. Reporters also will hear from Dan Dumbacher, NASA's deputy
associate administrator for exploration systems; Mark Geyer, Orion Program
manager; and managers from Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for Orion,
and Textron Defense Systems.

Journalists who plan to attend should respond to Brandi Dean at
brandi.k.dean@nasa.gov or 281-244-1403 by 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday, July 16. All
guests must present a valid driver's license upon arrival at the facility.
Foreign nationals will be required to present a valid passport. Textron
Defense Systems is located at 201 Lowell St. in Wilmington. Media should enter
the facility from Rt. 38 (Main Street).

EFT-1 will send Orion 3,600 miles into orbit, farther than any spacecraft
built for humans has traveled in more than 40 years. During its return to
Earth, the spacecraft will reach speeds of up to 20,000 miles per hour, faster
than the space shuttles or any current spacecraft. The increased speed means
Orion must endure temperatures of 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit as it re-enters
Earth's atmosphere.

The heat shield skeleton and skin were assembled at Lockheed Martin's Waterton
Facility near Denver, and then shipped to Textron Defense Systems in March
aboard NASA's Super Guppy cargo aircraft. Since then, technicians have been
covering the structure with Avcoat, an ablative material designed to erode as
it heats up, to protect the interior of the spacecraft from extreme
temperatures during re-entry.

Once complete, the heat shield will be shipped to NASA's Kennedy Space Center
for installation on the Orion crew module.

For more information about Orion, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/orion

SOURCE NASA

Website: http://www.nasa.gov