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Thermal Protection Materials Branch – Sensors for Flight and TPS Development

Mars Science Lander
Mars Science Lander during descent

Flight instrumentation & hardware is designed to capture flight entry data in order to improve heat shield design, fidelity of aerothermal modeling tools, and planetary atmospheric models. The Thermal Protection Materials Branch provides project management and instrumentation development for the Mars Entry, Descent, and Landing Instrumentation 2 (MEDLI2) and Orion DFI Projects. Instrumentation hardware was successfully flown during the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Mars entry in 2012 and missions such as Orion EFT-1 consist of 34 instrumented sensor plugs and 2 radiometers built at Ames and installed on the flight heat shield.

Orion 5m EFT-1 Heat Shield with Ames sensors and radiometers.