What’s that big metal doughnut on the ceiling? Actually, it’s part of NASA’s forthcoming Orion Service Module, about to be tested to ensure it can withstand the vibrations it will be exposed to during launch and travel. Read more >>
It's amazing how effective those thermal shields are on NASA's Orion spacecraft. With all of the panels removed for a viewing by Kennedy Space Center workers, you can hardly see any heat-related damage under the skin of the spacecraft, after its successful launch and re-entry that it performed late last year.
NASA's Orion spacecraft, designed to ferry the first humans to Mars, lifts off from Cape Canaveral on Friday morning. Orion reached speeds of 20,000 mph and travelled 3,600 miles from Earth before a successful splashdown in the Pacific. [Bill Ingalls/NASA]