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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52
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2answers
16k views

Why is gold used in space technology to protect from heat radiation?

AFAIK, NASA and others are using mainly gold to protect surfaces 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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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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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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3answers
956 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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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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1answer
497 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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2answers
5k views

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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5answers
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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0answers
159 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 ...
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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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1answer
264 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 ...
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359 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
100 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 ...
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1answer
692 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
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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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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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2answers
628 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. ...
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3answers
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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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2answers
688 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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1answer
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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
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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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215 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 ...
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1answer
334 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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2answers
409 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
5
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1answer
531 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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1answer
93 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 ...
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2answers
218 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 ...
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2answers
281 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.
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61 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 ...
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1answer
134 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 ...
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1answer
255 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. ...
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1answer
248 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 ...