Space Shuttle Endeavour - Flown Thermal Blanket
Space Shuttle Endeavour - Flown Thermal Blanket
This specimen is a piece of a mission-flown insulation blanket, which was part of Endeavour's Thermal Control System. The TCS helped the ship withstand the extreme increase in temperatures during atmospheric reentry and the TCS blanket was applied to the inside of the shuttle to protect internal components and systems.
📸 The Endeavour specimen along with a Stephanie's Rockwell International Safety sticker, commemorating the rollout of OV-105. And yes, we have an official NASA cafeteria tray at MMHQ.
Each hand-cut specimen is housed in an acrylic jar and ships in a classic, glass-topped riker display case. The specimens measure roughly 1x1cm though variations may occur. A small information card is also included, which serves as the certificate of authenticity.
Special Handling Notice: It's very important to note that this was a multi-layer insulation blanket so we've elected to provide multiple layers with each specimen. All specimens will have a layer of aluminized Kapton foil and a layer of fibrous bulk material. It's also possible that there may be fragments of the Dacron net separator material.
📸 An example thermal blanket specimen taken from interior layers. This particular specimen has intact Dacron net separators.
If you choose to open the specimen jar, take great care. The Kapton is very light and slightly brittle with age and use. It may fly away or even break into smaller pieces.
Also, all thermal blanket specimens are look quite similar so we've marked the bottom of the specimen jar. This way you can tell them apart and get them back in the correct riker display case if you happen to have both out at the same time.
Please Note: References to disposition paperwork on the specimen card are for context only. All original paperwork resides in the Mini Museum Collection. See information on the original artifact below.
Front of the Specimen Card
Back of the Specimen Card
FIRST LAUNCH: May 7, 1992 - TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 122,883,151 miles
SPACE SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR
"Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations...If you adopt their attitudes, then the possibility won't exist because you'll have already shut it out . You can hear other people's wisdom, but you've got to re-evaluate the world for yourself." ~ STS-47 Mission Specialist Mae C. Jemison (November, 2009)
Above: A stylized view of NASA image STS127-S-054. Taken on July 15, 2009 during STS-127, Endeavour rises from NASA Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A.
The Space Shuttle Endeavour (OV-105) was the final orbiters built, replacing the Challenger. Named for Captain James Cook’s HMS Endeavour, the shuttle’s career included the first repair mission for the Hubble Space Telescope and the addition of the Unity Module to the ISS, the first American addition to the space station.
📸 SPACE SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR TCS BLANKET WITH TYPICAL SCRAP DESIGNATION AFTER DECOMMISSIONING.
MISSION-FLOWN THERMAL BLANKET
As noted above, this specimen is a piece of a mission-flown insulation blanket, which was part of Endeavour's Thermal Control System. The TCS helped the ship withstand the extreme increase in temperatures during atmospheric reentry and the TCS blanket was applied to the inside of the shuttle to protect internal components and systems.
📸 Closeup of the reverse side of the blanket with mounting points.
Softgoods such as the blanket were a simple and efficient way to provide lightweight insulation to delicate items. NASA disposition paperwork received with this item indicates this particular blanket was removed after STS-99 which flew on 02/11/2000, which was this shuttle’s last solo mission.
Please Note: The item on offer is a fragment of this mission-flown thermal blanket. The original scrap tags and documentation remain in the Mini Museum collection. Photos here are provided for context only.
More about the Space Shuttle Program and Endeavour (OV-105)
Above: Endeavour in space, docked to the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. The shuttle's Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System (RMS) robotic arm and station's Canadarm2 are also featured in the scene. The SPACEHAB pressurized logistics module is visible in Endeavour's payload bay.(STS-118, August 15, 2007; Source: NASA ISS015-E-22574)
NASA's Space Shuttle program delivered 133 successful missions during its three decades in operation, beginning with Columbia's inaugural launch in 1981 and concluding with Atlantis' final flight in 2011. Missions involved many vital tasks, such as maintaining the International Space Station, repairing the Hubble Space Telescope, and deploying satellites. Scientific experiments featured heavily in the rotation, using the reusable Spacelab developed by the ESA.
📸 The underside of Endeavour as it hangs suspended over the transfer aisle of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.(NASA Image KSC-0PD2610 September 11, 2008)
The Space Shuttle Endeavour was the final orbiter built, replacing the Challenger. As a cost-saving measure, much of the shuttle was built from leftover parts from the other orbiters. Named for Captain James Cook’s HMS Endeavour, the shuttle’s career included the first repair mission for the Hubble Space Telescope and the addition of the Unity Module to the ISS, the first American addition to the space station. The Endeavour also flew Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space.
While in service, Endeavour orbited Earth 4,671 times, traveling approximately 120 million miles. The shuttle weighed about 156 thousand pounds, boasting a wingspan of about 80 feet and a length of about 120 feet. Endeavour can now be seen at the California Science Center, where it is open for display to the public.
Above: Space Shuttle Endeavour on the way to the California Science Center on October 13, 2012. Rumor has it that it may be stuck in LA traffic to this day, but we're pretty sure it made it. (Source: NASA/Bill Ingalls 201210130006HQ)
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Linton, Roger C., Ann F. Whitaker, and Miria M. Finckenor. "Space environment durability of beta cloth in LDEF thermal blankets." LDEF Materials Results for Spacecraft Applications (1993).
Harris, Richard, Michael Stewart, and William Koenig. "Thermal Protection Systems Technology Transfer from Apollo and Space Shuttle to the Orion Program." 2018 AIAA SPACE and Astronautics Forum and Exposition. 2018.
Jenkins, Dennis R. Space shuttle: the history of the National Space Transportation System: the first 100 missions. DR Jenkins, 2001.
Jenkins, Dennis R. Space Shuttle: Developing an Icon: 1972-2013. Specialty Press, 2016.
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