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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.

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.

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.

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