Space Shuttle Tiles for Teachers
NASA is now offering space shuttle tiles to educational institutions.
Would you like to have a piece of history for your classroom or lecture
space? Sign up now because a limited number of tiles are available on a
first-come, first-served basis.
So why are these tiles so "cool"?
Imagine a scene from a movie where your school bus is flying through
space and is just about to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. Wait! What
would have to be on your bus to protect the students inside from the
extreme heat outside (nearly 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit!) created by the
friction of your bus flying at 17,500 miles per hour through the
thickening atmosphere? Shuttle tiles! Each shuttle has more than 21,000
lightweight tiles that are very effective at throwing off intense heat
very, very quickly.
You or your students may have witnessed the more memorable space shuttle launches. The
first flight? The dockings with the Russian Mir space station. The
delivery and servicing flights for the Hubble Space Telescope. The many
flights to the International Space Station? The tiles contributed
immeasurably in making America a world leader in routine human
NASA is looking for ways to preserve this great history and inspire that
next generation. As of December 1, 2010, your school or university
can sign up and request a Space Shuttle Thermal Protection Tile.
Remember, the tiles are available on a first-come, first-served,
How to Apply
Schools may request a tile at the "NASA Space Programs - Historic
Artifacts Prescreening" Web site. Once at the site, go to the "NASA
Artifacts Prescreening Register" block of information to register and receive your login ID and password.
If you have difficulty with the registration process at the Historic
Artifacts Prescreening page, please send an email to this address.
NOTE: A Department of Education statistics tracking number (NCES for
schools or IPEDS for universities) is required to register; hyperlinks
are available to Web sites where you can find your institution's
Because the tiles are government property, a transfer protocol is
observed (signatures and routing are done electronically). Recipients
will be responsible for a shipping and handling fee of $23.40 per tile,
which is accommodated by the shipping company through a secure Web site.
Additional space shuttle links are available from the "NASA Space
Programs – Historic Artifacts Prescreening" Web site. You can
also view and request other NASA artifacts that are periodically
offered. Directions for requesting artifacts are available on the Web
site Home page or from this "Space Shuttle Program Artifacts" brochure.
+ Space Shuttle Thermal Protection Tile Care and Handling Precautions Material Safety
Data Sheets (MSDS) [PDF]
+ Tile Serial Numbers
+ NASA Facts: Orbiter Thermal Protection System (FS-2004-09-014-KSC Rev. 2006)
+ Space Shuttle News Reference (Inaugural Issue)
+ Orbiter Systems: Thermal Protection Systems
NASA Educational Links and Products related to Thermal Protection Systems and Tiles
Shuttle Tiles Grades 2-4 Lessons [PDF]
Shuttle Tiles Grades 5-8 Lessons [PDF]
Shuttle Tiles Grades 9-12 Lessons [PDF]
+ NASA Engineering Design Challenge: Thermal Protection Systems
+ "Our World How Sand Protects the Shuttle!" (select this title from the list below the video player)
+ "The Mechanics of Returning a Space Shuttle to Earth"