On display in the UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library lobby is one of 7,000 unused Space Shuttle tiles donated by NASA to schools and universities “that want to share technology and a piece of space history with their students,” according to the NASA Exploring Schools’ Teacher’s Corner.
Estimated to cost about $1,000 apiece, the lightweight silica-based “High-Temperature Reusable Surface Insulation” tiles were given to eligible institutions for only the cost of shipping and handling ($23.50) and the adventure of navigating a NASA Space Program – Historic Artifacts Prescreening on the U.S. General Services Administration’s GSAXcess website.
According to William Gerstenmaier, NASA Administrator for Space Operations Mission Directorate, “Each space shuttle carried over 24,000 separate Thermal Protection Systems tiles, and each one was a different size and shape. This is an authentic tile and is presented to honor 30 years of Space Shuttle flights and the great achievements made by the men and women of NASA in science, aeronautics, and space exploration.”
The NASA shuttle tile is sealed in a protective plastic wrapping. It is available for short-term loan to UCLA classes and laboratories. Faculty should contact History & Special Collections for the Sciences, 310.825.6940.
Also on display is the 18th-century Greek and Latin edition of Hippocrates’ Aphorisms which accompanied UCLA alumna (Chemistry and Medicine) Dr. Anna Fisher on STS-51A, the 14th out of 135 missions of the Space Shuttle program and the second flight of Discovery, in November 1984.
Russell A. Johnson
History & Special Collections for the Sciences
UCLA Library Special Collections and
Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, UCLA