Heater, Booster, Space Shuttle


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Rockets and Missiles exhibition at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Collection Item Summary:

This a field joint heater that NASA developed after the Space Shuttle Challenger accident in January 1986. Because of the unusually cold weather, an o-ring in the right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed to seal. Hot exhaust gas escaped through the joint and pentrated the external fuel tank, causing the sequence of events that culminated in the shuttle's destruction. To avoid future accidents, NASA required that all future flights be equipped with heaters of this type to protect the SRB o-rings and field joints during launch.

Transferred to NASM from Tayco Engineering Inc. to the Museum in 1994.

Collection Item Long Description:

Inventory Number


Credit Line

Gift of Tayco Engineering Inc.

Country of Origin

United States of America


  • Insulation - cork
  • Moisture seal - rubber
  • Strap - Kevlar


  • Other (coiled): 9in. x 1 1/4in. (22.9 x 3.2cm)
  • Other (extended): 39ft 12in. (1219.2cm)

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum



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