SUCCESSFUL ARC JET TEST OF CEV HEAT SHIELD-TO-BACK SHELL SEAL DESIGN
The video below shows a successful arc jet evaluation test of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) Heat Shield-to-Back Shell interface seal design. The test was performed in the NASA Ames Research Center Panel Test Facility (PTF). The seal comprises an outer hybrid thermal barrier designed to resist the extreme temperatures of reentry and an inner pressure seal designed to minimize gas flow through the interface. The PTF was configured to impose upon the thermal barrier a heat flux versus time profile nearly identical to that encountered by the seal during reentry concluding an Orion lunar mission. The seal was installed between a flight-representative Avcoat heat shield panel and a Shuttle-derived back shell panel. The seal system was installed under various conditions to evaluate the effects of seal coatings, installation geometries, and pre-existing damage imposed to simulate micrometeoroid and orbital debris (MMOD) strikes. The test results indicate that the seal system successfully performed its role in limiting hot reentry gas ingestion into the heat shield-to-back shell interface. Worst-case conditions generated a temperature of over 3200°F on the outer layer of the thermal barrier while the thermal barrier interior remained below 500°F, demonstrating a temperature drop of more than 2700°F.
Above: Video of a successful arc jet evaluation test of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) Heat Shield-to-Back Shell interface seal design.
Above: Arc jet test fixture of the heat shield, thermal barrier and back shell components. Dashed lines show the notional in-depth cross sectional view of the test section. Thermal barrier surface temperature exceeds 3200°F and maintains an internal temperature of < 500°F.