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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
7 votes
3 answers
245 views

Can something like SpinLaunch actually work?

Can something like SpinLaunch actually work? It appears that Spinlaunch attempts to accelerate a capsule to very high speeds and then basically throw it into space. A regular rocket is moving slowest ...
user avatar
  • 395
3 votes
1 answer
118 views

Heatshield during re-entry of space vehicles

All the CMs for Apollo, as well as the space shuttles, basically used "Blunt body" technique for re-entry. While Apollo CMs used "ablative" type of heatshield, the space shuttles ...
user avatar
  • 3,190
11 votes
2 answers
5k views

Could sheets of stacked graphene be used as part of a heat shield, since its melting point is 3000k to 5000 K

Since graphene material is the strongest manmade material, with "magical" properties, I wonder if it could be considered for use as a heat shield, since its melting point is 3000 to 5000 K ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
240 views

Has anyone explored using sound as a heat shield?

I edited original post to better reflect question. I was looking around to see if anyone had explored the idea of using (Ultrasonic or Hypersonic)sound to deflect heat from a ship. Specifically sound ...
user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
373 views

What is the heat shield refurbishment procedure for a crew Dragon capsule?

How, specifically, is the heat shield replaced or refurbished? More precisely... How do they know it will work for the next mission? :-P
user avatar
4 votes
5 answers
383 views

Post-flight analysis of SpaceX Starship 20 heat shield tiles

If Starship 20 will not be recovered, how will SpaceX evaluate the performance of the heat tiles? If a couple of heat tiles fall off and the Starship bursts into flames, how can SpaceX figure out ...
user avatar
  • 327
4 votes
3 answers
573 views

Merging Shuttle and External Tank to reduce reentry heating

The Space Shuttle needed a high-performance heat shield that caused much grief over it's operational life. Having a large surface area on a reentering vehicle reduces temperatures by causing the ...
user avatar
  • 1,079
5 votes
0 answers
92 views

Do aeroshells need to be super smooth to survive atmospheric entry?

IIRC, one of the arguments against Shuttle Columbia's hole being repaired was that the repair would not be smooth. Apparently, the heat shielding relied on a sensitive boundary layer. Even a small ...
user avatar
  • 1,079
2 votes
0 answers
74 views

Would it have made a difference to the TPS design if the Shuttle used skip reentries?

The Space Shuttle needed silica tiles and carbon-carbon panels to survive the sustained high temperatures of reentry. These materials were fragile and high-maintenance, and this led to the Columbia ...
user avatar
  • 1,079
5 votes
1 answer
194 views

If a Space Shuttle tile deorbited on its own, what percentage of it's mass if any would remain in one piece until it reached the surface of the earth?

If a Space Shuttle tile deorbited on its own, what percentage of it's mass if any would still be in one piece if and when it reached the surface of the earth? The question was inspired by one of the ...
user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
245 views

Ablative heat shield and conservation of energy, how much does ablated matter in fact "carry away" versus re-radiate the absorbed heat?

I saw Most heat shields ablate, that is they sacrifice material to carry heat away... in a comment under this answer and started writing: I think that shields ablate to produce a layer of complex ...
user avatar
  • 148k
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

How many different hexagonal tiles' modules are required to pave one Starship?

Assuming SpaceX would like to avoid absolute unmodularity of STS' thermal protection system, which was composed of (symmetry aside) mostly different and unique tiles. What tiling typologic strategies ...
user avatar
  • 3,579
4 votes
0 answers
163 views

Has there ever been an attempt or serious consideration for spacecraft to land on Mars without an ablative-type heat shield?

My answer to Do exploration spacecraft enter Mars atmosphere against Mars rotation, or on the same direction? lauds the use of ablative heat shields for minimizing radiative heating of a spacecraft by ...
user avatar
  • 148k
7 votes
0 answers
204 views

Is Perseverance's heat shield's thickness radially symmetric?

I came across this video1 about the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission, especially the atmospheric entry phase. It says between about 03:50 and ...
user avatar
  • 3,579
1 vote
1 answer
76 views

What were the Shuttle TPS repair patches made of?

Following the incident on STS-107, three methods of dealing with damaged tiles were developed. The method for large tile damage involved screwing a very thin plate over the hole, after loosely filling ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
225 views

How did they get away with sticking tiles with spit for so long?

The STS Orbiter was infamous for losing tiles. This occurred at a higher rate than expected. I understand the epoxy used to attach the tiles to the shuttle cured extremely quicky, so a fresh batch ...
user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
69 views

How large can heatshield holes be?

The tiles on the underside of the STS Orbiter had gaps between them to allow for the frame underneath to shift slightly. However, if the gaps were too large fillers were used. What controls the ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
137 views

How is PICA different from other heat shielding materials?

What are the differences and why did SpaceX prefer to use PICA?
user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
336 views

Mercury reentry heat shields; material composition, manufacturing process and explanation of all those concentric ridges?

A collection of photos in posts by Miles Lumbard there is a page titled Mercury Retro Pack Walk Around Page 1 (spotted here in reference to the thermal zebra stripes) can be found nine images with the ...
user avatar
  • 148k
5 votes
1 answer
734 views

Why did Columbia disintegrate lower into the atmosphere, not during its peak heat phase?

Space Shuttle Columbia entered a period of peak heating at 46 mi (74 km) altitude. Before the contact got broken, the temperature on Columbia's wing leading-edges had sunk already (and the heat shield ...
user avatar
  • 343
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Testing of rocket heat shield on Earth

One Space Shuttle was destroyed due to failure of the insulation tiles. SpaceX is reportedly using another technology, which replicates sweating , for wearing off the reentry heat. How is the ...
user avatar
  • 1,029
1 vote
1 answer
176 views

Do aeroshells really get hotter than the surface of the sun?

This answer to How to design heatshield bluntness? says: Curiosity reentry dumped about 98% of its entry energy into the atmosphere, the aeroshell can still get to be temps greater than the surface ...
user avatar
  • 148k
3 votes
2 answers
338 views

Number of segment in Wing leading Edges

Can anyone highlight the basis of having 22 NO’s of segment in wing leading edges of space shuttle.
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
150 views

How to design heatshield bluntness?

How is the bluntness or curvature of a heat shield of a reentry spacecraft designed? If the answer depends on size and mass, consider a deep space sample return "mini capsule" 50 cm in ...
user avatar
11 votes
5 answers
6k views

Why do you need a heat shield on Mars entry if the atmosphere is so thin?

Mars' atmosphere is only .088 psi. Is that enough to cause heat at high altitude? Shouldn't you be able to fly close to the surface at orbital speeds like on the moon? How does a parachute work with ...
user avatar
  • 129
27 votes
7 answers
4k views

Are heat shields just as necessary on launch as re-entry?

I always hear about heat shields in the context of spacecraft re-entry to the atmosphere. However, in order to reach escape velocity, aren't the same speeds and atmospheric resistances at play during ...
user avatar
  • 385
2 votes
1 answer
164 views

Which theory does this reentry heating rate equation come from?

The paper by Wang et al. at Scitech 2018 uses the following constraint on the rocket heating rate (equation (3) in the paper): $$k_Q \sqrt{\rho} V^{3.15} \le \dot{Q}_{max}$$ (screen shot) I am ...
user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
53 views

What are the most promising re-usable heat shield designs for atmospheric re-entry?

I've noticed that most re-usable heat shield designs are not developed enough to be useful in the near future. The re-usable shields I've seen used in the past all use the "thermal soak" method, which ...
user avatar
  • 11
6 votes
2 answers
978 views

Capsule heat shielding made of Aerogel?

I was reading about crew capsules and the reentering into earths atmosphere. Since this generates loads of heat that the crew and capsule needs to be protected from heat shielding is used. I read this ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
368 views

Heat shield on Venus

On Venus, the conditions are really extreme in terms of heat and pressure. Say we take many layers of rockets' lab heat shield for Electron (which I am not sure what is made of). Could it provide heat ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
178 views

How much is a typical reentry vehicle decelerated by heatshield ablation?

Most spacecraft (or parts thereof) intended to survive atmospheric (re-)entry use an ablative heatshield, which, when exposed to the strong aerodynamic heating of (re-)entry, gradually ablates away, ...
user avatar
  • 3,829
10 votes
1 answer
629 views

Who was the first to successfully implement on practice ablative heat shield?

Up until Shuttle/Buran era, all manned orbital reentry vehicles used ablative heat shield for reentry (Vostok, Mercury, Voskhod, Gemini, Soyuz, Apollo). This made me curious about who was the first in ...
user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
452 views

What was the operational lifetime of a shuttle tile?

The statement "While some of the individual tiles on the shuttle might last 10 missions" from this excellent answer has led a questioner to make the statement "someone here at Space Stack-Exchange ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
312 views

Shuttle silica ceramics black tiles

Since other members wrote, that my my original question here Shuttle silica ceramics black tiles? was too broad I modified it to asked just one thing, while the other questions I will asked later. ...
user avatar
  • 151
7 votes
1 answer
679 views

Why is the Heat Shield of ESA's Solar Orbiter Black in colour?

Solar Orbiter (SolO) is a planned Sun-observing satellite, under development by the European Space Agency (ESA). Due to its proximity to the Sun, it receives about 13 times more solar energy than we ...
user avatar
  • 3,096
2 votes
1 answer
289 views

What might the description "tiny glass vermicelli at a microstructure level" refer to? (SpaceX Starship heat shield tiles)

In the Starship Update at about 21:05 Musk says: We’ve gone through various iterations of heat shield, there’s a lot of ways to skin a cat here. Ultimately we ...
user avatar
  • 148k
27 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
user avatar
  • 46.3k
3 votes
1 answer
163 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 ...
user avatar
  • 3,579
0 votes
0 answers
56 views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 46.3k
5 votes
1 answer
616 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 ...
user avatar
  • 46k
12 votes
2 answers
667 views

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. ...
user avatar
  • 46.3k
3 votes
1 answer
128 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?
user avatar
  • 1
5 votes
1 answer
128 views

Maximum speed based on atmospheric altitude given maximum temp?

I saw the question Could escape velocity be achieved in the atmosphere? and thought it probably could've been asked better. I'm sure there's an equation to calculate the average heat generated by an ...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
524 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 ...
user avatar
  • 1
24 votes
2 answers
4k 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 ...
user avatar
  • 605
1 vote
0 answers
76 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 ...
user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
615 views

Active liquid cooling for heat shield

I have not found much about active liquid cooling for heat shields using cryogenic fuel. It has been mentioned but not researched in depth. It may never have been done. Now that the Starship seems to ...
user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
62 views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 9,834
2 votes
0 answers
397 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 ...
user avatar
  • 148k
1 vote
1 answer
310 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? ...
user avatar
  • 1