For example, the silver material on the Soyuz capsule


Or the white wrapping on Canadarm and other robotic modules on the ISS


My best guess is that it's beta cloth, used for fireproofing spacesuits, although the Wikipedia article doesn't mention application in actual Spacecraft.


1 Answer 1



The SRMS is covered over its entire length with a multi-layer insulation thermal blanket system, which provides passive thermal control. This material consists of alternate layers of Kapton, Dacron scrim cloth and a Beta cloth outer covering. In extreme cold conditions, thermostatically controlled electric heaters (resistance elements) attached to critical mechanical and electronic hardware can be powered on to maintain a stable operating temperature.


Similarly the Soyuz material is also a TPS, referred to as an outer screen-vacuum thermal insulation (EVTI).

EVTI consists of multiple layers, just like MLI, with the outer layer made up of fiberglass, an inner facing layer of percale and screens located between them made of corrugated polyethylene terephthalate film with one-sided metallized surface, separated from each other by low-heat-conductive material such as glass veils.

Also of interest:

International Space Station (ISS) Soyuz Vehicle Descent Module Evaluation of Thermal Protection System (TPS) Penetration Characteristics


Essentially wrt ISS, most MLI will be of similar composition, though there is some variance, depending on the module and age (Soviets/Russians), and also country of origin.

MMOD Protection and Degradation Effects for Thermal Control Systems



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