14 August 2018
Aerospace America reports on the launch of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, which has now deployed its solar arrays. The article reports that the “spacecraft is operating on its own power.” NASA engineers worked “for a decade designing heat shielding” for the probe that would be “lightweight, reflective and durable enough for the spacecraft” to pass into the sun’s corona “and address the mystery of why this region is hotter than the region closer to the surface.” The shield is composed of a “carbon foam core sandwiched between two panels of a composite derived from the reinforced carbon-carbon” that was used to protect the leading edges of the space shuttle’s wings. According to Applied Physics Laboratory Lead Engineer Betsy Congdon, durability testing for the heat shield was “very difficult,” and was conducted at a “variety of facilities” across the US, including NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s thermal vacuum chamber. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (Aerospace America)