March 5: The Museum in Washington, DC will open today. Due to weather, the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA is closed.
This hatch cover shows how the Space Shuttle's thermal blankets can be shaped to fit different features of the vehicle. Blankets are flexible and can be applied to difficult areas more easily than thermal tiles. The blankets covering and framing this hatch have removable plugs for access to the fasteners in the metal structure below. Quilted blankets replaced most of the white tiles originally applied to the topside of the vehicle because they are lighter weight, more durable, and easier to make and install. NASA released a few of these blankets, no longer usable and marked scrap, to the Museum in 2006.
Transferred from NASA Kennedy Space Center.