It’s amazing how effective the thermal shield of NASA’s Orion spacecraft is. With all of the back shell panels removed for a viewing by Kennedy Space Center workers, you can hardly see any heat-related damage under the skin of the spacecraft.
It’s also worth noticing how intact the US flag painted on the panel on the right side is. That is one some tough paint they must have used to decorate Orion.
The spacecraft was launched on its first, four-and-a-half hour flight test (Exploration Flight Test #1) on December 5, and successfully splashed down into the Pacific Ocean after completing orbits around the Earth and a spectacular fiery re-entry. Now the spacecraft is inside the Launch Abort System Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and will soon be transported to the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility for deservicing and further data analysis. [NASA/Kim Shiflett]