Boeing has delivered a prototype ablative heatshield for NASA's Orion crew exploration vehicle. Designed to protect the capsule during high-speed re-entry after a lunar direct return, the 5m (16.4ft)-diameter heatshield is fabricated from phenolic impregnated carbon ablator, produced by Maine-based Fiber Materials. Each panel is substantially larger than typical Space Shuttle tiles, reducing parts count and complexity, Boeing says.

Orion Heatshield

Source: Flight International