The New York Times article A NASA Journey to the Moon May Need to Find Another Rocket or Two shows an image of the Orion capsule in a file photo, along with the NASA director.

There are four white objects along the upper part of the capsule. They look like they might be made of styrofoam and each is labeled:

Remove Before Flight

Question: What is under these four white covers? Why are they in opposing pairs of different shape?

"bonus" points: why not just say "do not touch"?

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Jim Bridenstine, NASA's administrator, spoke on Monday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, surrounded by pictures and models of the Space Launch System, which now faces more delays.CreditCreditAubrey Gemignani/NASA, via Associated Press


1 Answer 1


Those are covers on the windows. There are 2 large forward-facing windows, and 2 smaller flush-mounted windows:

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"Do not touch" and "Remove before flight" are not synonyms. The use of "Remove before flight" on a spacecraft that hasn't been fully assembled yet is a bit silly.

"Remove before flight" is the standard phrase for covers on an aircraft that must be removed before you attempt to fly the aircraft. This includes e.g. covers on the engine intakes and pitot tubes. If you tried to take off without removing them you'd crash.

2 different types of window cover are used on Orion.

During production, these plate-type covers are more common:

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  • $\begingroup$ This is exactly right. Those "Remove before flight" lanyards you see people use as keychains actually have a very important purpose. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remove_before_flight#/media/… $\endgroup$ Mar 14, 2019 at 15:23
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    $\begingroup$ I'd say "Do not touch" and "Remove before flight" are almost antonyms. It'd be pretty hard to remove them without touching them, don't you think? $\endgroup$ Mar 14, 2019 at 21:17

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