This display features a genuine piece of a space shuttle heat-shield tile. These tiles cover the underbelly and various surfaces of the space shuttle vehicle to protect it from the destructive heat of passage through the Earth's atmosphere. Made of a ceramic composite material, they are very light-weight, yet extremely resistant to heat. Thousands of these tiles are used for a single mission, and NASA contractors produced large quantities of these tiles. Some tiles were produced for quality testing and research - these were never assembled into completed tiles, although they are made of the same materials. Because these tiles were never used for the shuttle and are not complete tile assemblies, they are exempt from export restrictions. I acquired a single large tile from a collector and I cut off small samples to make these displays. This tile and these samples are real and they were made for the shuttle but never flown - these samples are "new" and have not been in space or subjected to atmospheric re-entry.
The tile sample is contained in a handsome display box that measures 4 inches by 3 inches (100mm x 75mm). It has a removeable glass lid. The tile piece can be removed and handled. The sample is set against a color photo of a space shuttle.
Refer to the photo. The black centimeter cube is shown for scale and is not included. You are purchasing a display like the one shown. Note, your tile sample may vary slightly in appearance from the one shown. Each sample is hand-cut and may be a triangle, square, or wedge shape.