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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. - In the Thermal Protection System Facility, Tim Wright, engineering manager with United Space Alliance, tests a new tile, called "Boeing replacement insulation" or "BRI-18." The new tiles will gradually replace older tiles around main landing gear doors, external tank doors and nose landing gear doors. Currently, 10 tiles have been processed inside the facility. Discovery will receive the first BRI-18 tiles. Technicians inside the Orbiter Processing Facility are performing fit checks and will begin bonding the tiles to the vehicle this month. The raw material is manufactured by The Boeing Company in Huntington Beach, Calif. Replacing older tile with the BRI-18 tile in strategic areas is one of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's recommendations to strengthen the orbiters. The tiles are more impact resistant than previous designs, enhancing the crew’s safety. KSC-06pd0022

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. - In the Thermal Protection System Facility, Tim Wright, engineering manager with United Space Alliance, tests a new tile, called "Boeing replacement insulation" or "BRI-18." The new tiles will gradually replace older tiles around main landing gear doors, external tank doors and nose landing gear doors. Currently, 10 tiles have been processed inside the facility. Discovery will receive the first BRI-18 tiles. Technicians inside the Orbiter Processing Facility are performing fit checks and will begin bonding the tiles to the vehicle this month. The raw material is manufactured by The Boeing Company in Huntington Beach, Calif. Replacing older tile with the BRI-18 tile in strategic areas is one of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's recommendations to strengthen the orbiters. The tiles are more impact resistant than previous designs, enhancing the crew’s safety. KSC-06pd0021

Tim Wright, a United Space Alliance engineering manager at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, unpacks the heat shield tiles that will be installed to the backshell of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle's Exploration Flight Test EFT-1 capsule. The tiles are being manufactured and inspected in Kennedy's Thermal Protection System Facility. The tiles will be baked at 2,200 degrees F to cure their ceramic coating. EFT-1 will be used during Orion's first test flight in space. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/orion. Photo credit: Frankie Martin KSC-2012-1572

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- United Space Alliance workers, Tim Wright, left, and Chris Keeling, manufacture the heat shield tiles that will be installed to the backshell of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle's Exploration Flight Test EFT-1 capsule. The work to manufacture and inspect the tiles is taking place in the Thermal Protection System Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. EFT-1 will be used during Orion's first test flight in space. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/orion. Photo credit: Frankie Martin KSC-2012-1593