A sample of PICA-X heat shield material subjected to temperatures of up to 1,850C (3,360F), at the Arc Jet Complex at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. The NASA-originated PICA material holds the record for high-speed reentry into the Earth's atmosphere. The SpaceX-developed and manufactured PICA-X variants meet or exceed the performance of the original material, to protect the Dragon spacecraft on its return to Earth. (Source: SpaceX)
NASA and Boeing developed a huge, carbon composite cryogenic fuel tank for deep space missions, and started testing it last month. The 18-ft cryotank will enable heavy-lift launch vehicles to send both humans and robots into deep space.
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