As the Space Shuttle Program nears retirement, NASA is looking for ways to preserve the program's history and inspire the next generation of space explorers, scientists and engineers. Beginning Wednesday, NASA is offering 7,000 shuttle heat shield tiles to schools and universities that want to share technology and a piece of space history with their students.
The lightweight tiles protect the shuttles from extreme temperatures when the orbiters re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. Schools can request a tile at:
Click on the tile icon to log on to the request page. A login ID and password may be obtained by registering on the link provided. A Department of Education statistics tracking number (NCES for schools or IPEDS for universities) is needed to register. Hyperlinks are available to these sites to find a specific institution's tracking number.
The requests will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Only one tile will be given per institution.
Because the tiles are government property, a transfer protocol is observed. Recipients will be responsible for a shipping and handling fee of $23.40, which is payable to the shipping company through a secure website.