Tile, Shuttle Insulation, Black


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

Black reusable insulation tiles shielded the entire underside of the Space Shuttle orbiter, as well as portions of the vertical tail, wings, and forward and aft fuselage where temperatures reached 1,200-2,300 degrees F (650-1,260 degrees C) during re-entry into the atmosphere. About 23,000 High-Temperature Reusable Surface Insulation (HRSI) tiles were used on those areas of the Shuttle that sustained very high temperatures during descent. Each tile had a unique part number and shape related to its precise location on the orbiter. This tile was meant to be placed on the upper or lower forward fuselage.

NASA transferred a number of unused tiles to the Museum when the Shuttle program ended in 2012.

Collection Item Long Description:

Inventory Number


Credit Line

Transferred from National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Country of Origin

United States of America


  • Plastic
  • Synthetic
  • Coating
  • Paper
  • Ceramic


3-D: 16.8 × 15.2 × 3.5cm (6 5/8 × 6 × 1 3/8 in.)

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

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


SPACECRAFT-Manned-Parts & Structural Components