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  Chris Ferguson-signed Atlantis TCS display

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Author Topic:   Chris Ferguson-signed Atlantis TCS display
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posted 07-22-2013 02:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MEAT10AF   Click Here to Email MEAT10AF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I picked up this lovely display at Atlantis's new home:

It features a Chris Ferguson autographed launch photo and a piece of TCS blanket (labeled on the COA as "cargo bay liner"). The COA gives the vague description of the piece as having flown on "an Atlantis mission." It goes on to say that the source material came from the SCCS, which I assume refers to the Space Coast Cover Service, but I'm not entirely sure.

The COA, pictured above, shows the source TCS blanket. Does anyone recognize this blanket or know someone who might? I'd love to know which mission this flew on.

Ken Havekotte

Posts: 2913
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 07-22-2013 06:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, SpaceCoast Cover Service, founded in 1983, is my own firm. To the best of my knowledge, SCCS is the first company of its kind devoted to Space Age memorabilia; buying, selling, trading, consulting, promoting, study and research.

The flown-used shuttle insulation used in the special Atlantis project came from Mission STS-86, the 7th Shuttle-Mir docking flight, in 1997. It was from a Multi-layer Insulation (MLI) blanket of shuttle orbiter Atlantis' Thermal Control System of the payload bay area.


Posts: 977
From: Michigan
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 07-22-2013 08:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've always been curious. Are these the white blankets we see when looking into an open payload bay?

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posted 07-22-2013 10:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MEAT10AF   Click Here to Email MEAT10AF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many thanks for the info, Ken! As a matter of fact, I have another piece from STS-86 that I purchased as part of a six orbiter display you produced. That display is a centerpiece of my collection, and this latest display will no doubt be one as well.

Greggy_D, my understanding is that what you're technically seeing on the surface of a payload bay is a beta cloth liner. Beneath that liner are blankets of MLI and fibrous bulk insulation. However, I'm unsure if the liner itself is considered a part of those blankets.


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From: Pampa, TX, US
Registered: May 2011

posted 07-23-2013 10:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceguy5   Click Here to Email Spaceguy5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
These are most definitely the white material seen inside the payload bay. These also protect some payloads inside the payload bay.

The beta cloth liner is mainly to protect the TCS blankets from being damaged by handling, small debris, and atomic oxygen. Plus the white color is good for managing temperature.

For example, here are two blankets I own that protected the airlock hatch on a space shuttle tunnel adapter. Sewn onto the back of these blankets is aluminized plastic film. The tiny holes in the MLI are to allow air to escape. In the early program, gold MLI was used because it was more resistant to corrosion from salt water.

From my understanding, some of these blankets were attached directly over the space shuttle's aluminum frame, while others covered fibrous bulk blankets. Here is a picture of some bulk blankets on the front bulkhead of Columbia's payload bay.

I also have a payload bay blanket that has only kapton with no MLI sewn onto the back, and another that's very heavy and made up of a layer of beta cloth, two layers of felt-like fibers, a layer of a very stiff material, then another layer of beta cloth. I'm not sure what these two blankets were for nor where they would have been located.

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