STS-27 was able survive reentry without a tile because the was over a metal component with sufficient thermal inertia to serve as a heat sink without melting.

Would the steel frame of Starship be able to do the same, or is the skin too thin to transmit heat away from the hole quickly enough without melting?

If yes, is there any way it could handle the mechanical strain of what's probably going to be a mess of shocks & turbulent hypersonic airflow?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I guess we might find out on Monday $\endgroup$ Apr 15 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ The first sentence needs clarification: " ... because the was over a metal component ...". $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Apr 16 at 11:57
  • $\begingroup$ More accurately "The shuttle wing damage was over a steel antenna instead of the aluminum skin, steel being better able to withstand the heat of re-entry". $\endgroup$ Apr 21 at 23:43


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