WASHINGTON, D.C. — NASA is expanding its offer to museums and schools of space shuttle heat shield tiles and food packaged for spaceflight. Beginning Tuesday, museums across the United States will be eligible to receive these pieces of space history, in addition to the schools and universities that have received them since the end of the Space Shuttle Program.
Providing space shuttle thermal protection tiles and dehydrated astronaut food to museums is a way for NASA to share technology and history with the public. This initiative helps NASA inspire the next generation of space explorers, scientists and engineers.
The lightweight tiles protected the shuttles from extreme temperatures when they re-entered Earth’s atmosphere. The astronaut food was precooked or processed so it required no refrigeration and was ready to eat. It could be prepared simply by adding water or by heating.
Requests for these artifacts are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Museums must obtain a user ID and password from their state agency for surplus property. Eligible educational institutions need their National Center for Education Statistics or Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System numbers assigned by the U.S. Department of Education to apply for this offer. Schools and museums can obtain additional information, register for a login ID, and request a tile or food at:
Tiles are available in three types: black-coated, white-coated and uncoated. Institutions may request up to three tiles, one of each type, while supplies last. Schools and museums are responsible for a $23.40 shipping and handling fee per tile, which is payable to the shipping company through a secure website. Space food is offered as a package of approximately three space food items for a shipping and handling fee of $28.03. Institutions may request only one package of space food.
NASA also is offering artifacts representing significant human spaceflight technologies, processes and accomplishments from its space exploration programs. Artifacts include 11 Fastrac engine nozzles used on X-34 aircraft; models of aircraft fuselages tested at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.; early space shuttle prototype models; Ranger, Telestar, Explorer XII, Mariner VII, Nimbus and other spacecraft models; X3 solar mirrors; and various space shuttle components.
For additional information about thermal tiles, space food and other NASA artifacts, available to museums and libraries, visit:
For NASA Tiles for Teachers lesson plans, visit: