Space Shuttle thermal protection system

The Kuiper Airborne Observatory took an infrared image of the underside of Columbia during the reentry of STS-3 to study temperatures. The orbiter was 56 kilometers (184,000 ft) high and travelling at Mach 15.6.
Space Shuttle Discovery as it approaches the International Space Station during the STS-114 on 28 July 2005.

The Space Shuttle thermal protection system (TPS) is the barrier that protected the Space Shuttle Orbiter during the searing 1,650 °C (3,000 °F) heat of atmospheric reentry. A secondary goal was to protect from the heat and cold of space while in orbit.[1]

  1. ^ Jenkins, Dennis R. (2007). Space Shuttle: The History of the National Space Transportation System. Voyageur Press. p. 524 pages. ISBN 978-0-9633974-5-4.