As you might imagine, much of the construction, design, and deployment of NASA’s space shuttle is unique and without precedent. Each implementation of technology in the space program is, quite often, the first time such an implementation has occurred. NASA’s cutting edge research and development also gives scientists a chance to try bold new things in bold new ways. One challenge NASA scientists must address for every object sent into space is how to handle the massive temperature fluctuations between outer-space and the earth’s atmosphere. Just as significant is the substantial heat and surface friction that spacecraft encounter as they re-enter the earth’s atmosphere and temperatures reach nearly 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Protecting astronauts, cargo, and the spacecraft themselves is a core objective within NASA’s ranks.