One of the greatest engineering challenges in spaceflight is to protect a spacecraft from the searing heat of re-entry, as the fate of the Space Shuttle Columbia so tragically illustrated.
So, one of the most intriguing technical twists in NASA's planning for its return-to-the-Moon Constellation programme may come later this month when the US space agency announces its heat shield selection for the Orion crew exploration vehicle's (CEV) crew module.
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- Archive: On 17 April 1970 USS Iwo Jima crewmen hoist the Apollo 13 Command Module aboard ship. The Apollo 13 spacecraft splashed down at 12:07pm on 17 April in the South Pacific Ocean. Here is how Flight reported it.