What is 3D-MAT? – NASA | Space

The 3-Dimensional Multifunctional Ablative Thermal Protection System (3D-MAT) is a thermal protection material developed as a critical component of Orion, NASA’s newest spacecraft built for human deep space missions. It is able to maintain a high level of strength while enduring extreme temperatures during re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere at the end of Artemis missions to the Moon. 3D-MAT has become an essential piece of technology for NASA’s Artemis campaign that will establish the foundation for long-term scientific exploration at the Moon and prepare for human expeditions to Mars, for the benefit of all.

The 3D-MAT project emerged from a technical problem in early designs of the Orion spacecraft. The compression pad—the connective interface between the crew module, where astronauts reside, and the service module carrying power, propulsion, supplies, and more—was exhibiting issues during Orion’s first test flight, Exploration Flight Test-1, in 2014. NASA engineers realized they needed to find a new material for the compression pad that could hold these different components of Orion together while withstanding the extremely high temperatures of atmospheric re-entry. Using a 3D weave for NASA heat shield materials had been explored, but after the need for a new material for the compression pad was discovered, development quickly escalated.

This led to the…

Source www.nasa.gov

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