Tile, Shuttle Insulation, Black, STS-9

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 reach 1,200-2,300 degrees F (650-1,260 degrees C) during re-entry into the atmosphere. About 23,000 black tiles were used on those areas of the Shuttle that sustain very high temperatures during descent. NASA transferred to the Museum a number of damaged tiles removed from the orbiter Columbia after the STS-9 mission (1983).