A tough exterior of heat-dissipating material is generally used for reentry modules. I am wondering if there have been any attempts or experiments at using liquid cooling systems as thermal protection during reentry. And if not, why? Too costly and complex?
- Would be cost-effective only for reusable craft, mostly hypersonic spaceplanes (see NASP).
- Active cooling may fail spectacularly => Mission loss.
- It is hard to achieve required number of cycles before refurbishment due to thermal stress.
- Too heavy! -> Cannot compete with ablative/heat sink TPS for non-reusable craft.
Timeline for Active TPS