Woven Thermal Protection
Berks County played host to America’s space program Friday, as NASA’s top boss got a firsthand tour of the factory where components are being made for the nation’s next era of spacecrafts.
“From this day on, the path to Mars goes through Bally, Pennsylvania,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said after completing an hourlong visit at Bally Ribbon Mills.
Bolden, accompanied by Ray Harries, president of Bally Ribbon, was “mesmerized” by components NASA uses that are made by small businesses. They include spacecraft insulation systems, or heat shields, designed to withstand super-hot temperatures as spacecrafts descend from far distances in the universe.
Bolden watched as Bally workers wove high-tech fibers into three-dimensional shields that can withstand temperatures of 4,000 degrees, generated on re-entry by the Orion spacecraft. NASA, among others, is currently building the Apollo-like spacecraft, America’s deep-space ship.