Questions tagged [heat-shield]

Questions about technologies used to protect reentering space craft from the heat of friction from the atmosphere. May also refer to technologies used to block heat from solar radiation while in the vacuum of space.

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2answers
2k views

Why aren't RCS openings an issue for spacecraft heat shields?

A spacecraft which needs to both maneuver and enter the atmosphere needs both a reaction control system and a thermal protection system (aka heat shield). As the heat shield needs to be on the outer ...
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1answer
82 views

Expansive ablative heat shield

Are there studies about using expansive foam such as polyurethane, so that it provides high volume & high cross section heatshielding, instead of inflatable ones, or in combination with inflatable ...
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What kind of heat shield will Federatsiya (Federation) have?

Federatsiya (or Federation) is Russia's next generation crew vehicle, to replace Soyuz. According to its Wikipedia article, it may be reusable: Roskosmos reserved the option of making the crew ...
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1answer
126 views

Did the heat shield of the Vostok 1 capsule ablate during reentry?

This Wikipedia article (in german) has some information about the heat shield of Vostok 1. The heat shield was made from asbestos, its thickness was increased from 3 cm to up to 18 cm. The weight of ...
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Where are the Apollo forward heat shields currently located?

The Apollo Experience Report: Thermal Protection Subsystem explains that there are three sections to the Apollo heat shield: The aft heat shield, at the "base" of the cone and adjacent to the SM. ...
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1answer
106 views

What is the point in which metal turns white hot during launch or reentry called?

This is a slow motion film of the Sprint missle. There is a point where to skin goes white hot like a light switch. What is that called? What metal gets white hot while keeping its shape?
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1answer
123 views

What happened to Starlite? [closed]

I was talking to a person (lets say his name is Tim) that when Tim was a child he remembered in a grade school demonstration on this Starlite material (Starlite is a material claimed to be able to ...
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2answers
3k views

Why not increase contact surface when reentering the atmosphere?

If a craft were to increase the surface area where contact is made with air during reentry, I imagine the heat quantity per area unit would decrease, making the use of (heavy) heat shields less of a ...
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66 views

Has SpaceX been communicating with the German SHEFEX program about their actively cooled heat shield tests?

The German SHarp Edge Flight EXperiment has used some sounding rockets to test aerodynamic control surfaces during hypersonic reentry. The nose consists of thin ceramic plates bolted to aluminum with ...
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1answer
267 views

Active liquid cooling for heat shield

I have not been able to find much that has been written about active liquid cooling for heat shields using cryogenic fuel. It seems it has been mentioned but not really researched in depth. It's my ...
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Was there a prototype for Solar Probe's hybrid Heat Shield/Antenna?

An early concept of the Solar Probe (reborn as Solar Probe Plus then Parker Solar Probe) used a parabolic antenna with a heat-resistant nadir facing side to double as a heat shield. While sourcing ...
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233 views

What are the three peaks in this Apollo reentry heating plot?

The question Challenging Karman line from above includes the following plots and cites an answer in Quora by Robert Frost, Instructor and Flight Controller at NASA who has provided many authoritative ...
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1answer
196 views

Could an inflatable heat shield be used on the SpaceX Mars Lander?

Could light weight inflatable heat shields be used like parachutes from NASA to increase surface area for the SpaceX Mars lander further decreasing velocity? Where would be the best placement of them? ...
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1answer
220 views

Could a reentry powered monorail and flywheel make a kinetic engine for lift?

On reentry could a flywheel spin on a magnetic bearing creating a centrifugal force to keep the ship level whilst creating a plasma air pocket from the pits in the rotating heat shield? This would ...
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1answer
340 views

What is the material and reflectivity of the surface of Parker Solar Probe's heat shield that faces the Sun?

The Parker Solar probe will launch soon, and over a period of years and several planetary flyby's loose enough energy from its heliocentric orbit to reach an orbit with a perhihelion of only about 4 ...
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Why will the BFS reenter broadside rather than engine first?

Musk has stated that they added the delta wing to the BFS design because; from one flight to the next the ship may have differing payloads and differing fuel loads. These changes shift the center of ...
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3answers
770 views

Would a balloon pop if dropped from space?

Could a "simple" inflated party balloon be dropped from space entering an atmosphere? The first case at orbital speed, the second case just outside the atmosphere and the third interplanetary? The ...
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366 views

Was the Space Shuttle TPS technology ever state secret?

I was a bit surprised to learn that the Buran used heat tiles looking very similar to that of the Space Shuttle. Considering its potential for military application, and the cold war period in which ...
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1answer
433 views

What will the heat shield on the BFS be made of

Musk has stated that the BFS will need a heat shield capable of reentering the atmosphere from interplanetary trajectories. So I take it the ship will come in directly from the transfer trajectory and ...
3
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1answer
411 views

How do re-usable boosters handle re-entry damage? [duplicate]

Watching Falcon Heavy's side boosters land, I was amazed that they could withstand the stresses of re-entry yet still fire again for a (relatively) slow, smooth landing. I see there are heat shields ...
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1answer
487 views

Would a dimpled heat shield reduce heat transfer during reentry?

Would a large ceramic golfball absorb less heat on reentry than a standard sphere? From aerospaceweb.org: The difference in the flowfields around a smooth sphere and a rough, or dimpled, sphere ...
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1answer
185 views

Why can't spacecrafts create a complete heatshield cover around them during re-entry?

Like the Soyuz or Apollo spacecrafts, the crew module detaches itself from the service module during re-entry, is it possible to cover the total space-craft with a sleek-aerodynamic heat shield at the ...
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1answer
3k views

Why was the Friendship 7 Mercury heat shield detachable?

We know that just before reentry started, there was concern over a signal which indicated that the heat shield which would protect the capsule from the heat of reentry had become detached. This would ...
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1answer
844 views

White papers on alleged 1960s Chinese wooden ablative reentry heat shield

Popular sources, like Vintage Space and New Scientist, allege that the Chinese experimented with (oak?) wood ablative heat shields for manned reentry vehicles in the 1960s, but I have not been able to ...
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1answer
287 views

Archimedean braking for low density Venus lander + subsidiary question

Subsidiary question: Imagine a sphere 10cm in diameter in low venusian orbit. Slow it down a little in order to deorbit it. What's the density of the sphere, in order to touch the ground at 0 vertical ...
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5answers
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Can a blimp dead drop on Mars or Earth this way?

I saw a space jump where someone had exceeded the speed of sound before the air slowed him down enough to deploy a parachute, because the air was not dense enough to tear him apart in the upper ...
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How does the Parker Solar Probe's heat shield protect it from dust near the sun?

In this answer the survival of the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft passing as close as 9 solar radii from the Sun's surface is discussed. Using guestimates for apoapsis and periapsis of 1.1 $a_{venus}$,...
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1answer
961 views

How can the Parker Solar Probe survive passing within 4 million miles of the sun's surface?

There is a lot of information on the internet about NASA's Parker Solar Probe mission, including several multi-hundred page scientific reviews and in-depth studies - here's one. But could someone take ...
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2answers
270 views

Would astronauts need a heat shield to land on Titan from orbital speeds?

At orbital speeds around the Earth, things tend to burn up on striking the atmosphere, since they're going so fast. To get an astronaut (for example) home safely from those speeds, they need to have ...
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3answers
719 views

What are the major challenges faced in designing a reusable heat shield?

With the overwhelming majority of heat shields being ablative and expendable in nature, it is fascinating to read about the Shuttle's TPS, its design and some of the problems that it faced. I believe ...
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1answer
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Difference in atmospheric entry for Earth and Mars

Mars has only 0.6% the (surface) atmospheric pressure of Earth. Does this have a significant impact on the difficulty (heat shield parameters) of atmospheric entry? Is it basically the same as for ...
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1answer
1k views

Can aerogel be used as an ablative material for heatshields? [closed]

Reading about aerogels again, they seem to be some of the greatest thermal insulators ever made, which is weird because they are so light. When I read about a very lightweight material with very high ...
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1answer
4k views

What improvements have SpaceX made to their proprietary Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator (PICA-X) heat shield?

PICA-X is a SpaceX proprietary variant on the NASA Ames developed PICA (Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator) heat shield material. NASA quotes decades of rigorous research, testing and development ...
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Dragon V2: How many times can the spacecraft be reused? Is the spacecraft's heat shield reusable?

I read that the Boeing CST-100 could be reused up to 10 times, but the heat shield should be changed each time. Here are my questions: How many times can the Dragon V2 be reused? Will it be reused ...
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Is the technology behind the Shuttle's heat-shielding tiles used in any product today?

Many NASA inventions have had subsequent lives in the commercial marketplace. Have the Space Shuttle's heat-shielding tiles also had a second life?
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What was mylar used for on the Apollo Command Module space craft? Why is it gold after returning from space?

I lived in Hawaii when Apollo 15 returned from the moon. I saw the crew return by helicopter from the ship to Hickham A.F.B. and when the helicopter carrier, the USS Okinawa (LPH 3), returned to ...
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What is the maximum velocity at which Soyuz TMA-M may transit through Earth' atmosphere at reentry without a heat-shield?

A quick follow-up to Re-entry Heat Shield Alternative Instead of looking for an alternative to heat-shield, I'd like to draw from analogous naval tactics I heard about; Back in the 1950's to 1960's, ...
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2answers
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Re-entry Heat Shield Alternative

Why is it that Controlled Re-entry Vehicles (like the most recent Orion & Dragon) do not use a strong magnetic field during re-entry to "shield" the blunt shaped end from plasma ? Reasoning: ...
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2answers
263 views

Are there any techniques of heat shielding an irregularly shaped object?

NASA is planning to bring an asteroid into a lunar orbit. As I understand, it's a tremendous task, even when using high specific impulse ion drives. It seems nearly impossible to safely land one on ...
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1answer
189 views

Orion Heat Shield

I've heard that a different design of heat shield will be in place for the future Orion missions. How is the heat shield going to be different, and will the (Planned) Dec 4th launch of Orion ...
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3answers
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What are the problems with using the sun for Oberth maneuvers?

Presumably, it has something to do with the sun being rather hot. All the same, are there any potential cases with current technology where swinging close by the sun would be worth the shielding for ...
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Why is gold used in space technology to protection from heat radiation?

AFAIK, NASA and others are using mainly gold to protect surface from heat radiation. But, as we can see with our own eyes, chrome or silver had probably a much better albedo, because they are white, ...
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What is the outside of the Soyuz capsule covered in?

When you look at a Soyuz, it seems like the descent and orbital modules are covered in some kind of fabric-like material. You can see wrinkles and it does not look like traditional metal as you might ...
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640 views

Proportions of a reentering spacecraft as compared to fuel mass

Call this a thought experiment. Spacecraft to Earth orbit and beyond are traditionally launched by means of one or more rocket engines. The fundamental principle is that a rocket moves by expelling ...
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540 views

How does the surface area of a heat shield impact the ideal angle of attack for reentry?

The Apollo command module had a diameter of about 12.8 ft (which I assume is pretty close to the diameter of its heat shield). However, the heat shield for the new Orion spacecraft is a little bigger, ...