Questions tagged [materials]

Questions pertaining to materials used for construction of space-worthy objects.

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1 answer
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What material can a maser sail design use?

A quick recap for photon sails: Photon sails are conceptual spacecraft propulsion systems that would generate thrust from radiation pressure. Types of photon sails include solar sails, laser sails and ...
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Is the use of Nylon in satellites a bad idea?

I came across a video of someone from Northrop Grumman talking about how they don't use Nylon in satellites anymore as it accumulates charge which leads to arcing ( ). I ...
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What is "aerospace grade"?

I recently asked this question. There, I was also linked to this other question. Both, however, could benefit from the answer to one fundamental point. What is "aerospace grade"? If ...
18 votes
6 answers
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What makes aluminum aerospace grade?

So what is aerospace grade aluminum? Aerospace grade and regular aluminum or both aluminum. Do they have a different composition or strength? What makes one aerospace grade?
2 votes
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Antenna wrap material suitable for lunar & cis-lunar environment

I am looking for a wrap (station) antenna for a transceiver (in space/lunar) Not all materials are suitable for the space environment. Does anyone know what wrap antenna materials I can use? I have ...
1 vote
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What fraction of the Kapton thickness on the ISS' solar panels was likely eroded throughout their lifetime? Predictions? Measurements?

Background @Tristan's answer to How are the silicon PV cells constructed in the ISS's solar panels? Are they as flexible as they appear here? informs us that Kapton is part of the "blanket" ...
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11 votes
1 answer
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What are the moving particles that can be seen by the Parker Solar Probe?

There ate two images below from the Parker Probe, one of Venus and the second from the Sun. The second one is a screenshot from a recent video (Youtube of Parker imagery while in solar corona). In ...
2 votes
1 answer
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Material used in LOX propellant tank

Most launch vehicles use aluminum alloy AA2219 for LOX propellant tanks, has anyone used AA6061 with additional coating instead?
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How well does wood thermally perform in space applications?

Wondering if there are any studies about using wood as a material for insulation in spacecraft? My specific question is does anyone have any experience with it working as an insulator? I remember a ...
11 votes
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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 ...
4 votes
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Coatings on spacecraft structures

Traditionally, aluminium spacecraft structures have been alodine-coated to protect the surface from corrosion and resistance to scratches. However, the last few years I've noticed that more and more ...
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Apollo Cold Welding Mitigation

I am currently debating with someone on a different platform and he brought up the phenomenon "cold welding." I must admit that I had never heard of that before, so I have been reading about ...
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1 answer
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Advantages/disadvantages of wood for surface of cubesat?

Generally aluminum and kapton are the exterior surfaces of a cubesat. A Finnish/ESA cubesat, the WISA/Woodsat was launched that has plywood panels. It has protection against offgassing and very low ...
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Cubesat surface material

In wikipedia I read that the structure of the cubesat are made of aluminum alloys of 7075, 6061, 5005, and 5052. Is this the surface layer of the satellite or it is necessary to cover it with kapton ...
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How reflective can laser sail coatings be?

A recent post mentions that laser sails, in contrast to solar sails, can cherry-pick coatings that are near-perfect reflectors in narrow frequency ranges. But how good is "near-perfect"? ...
25 votes
3 answers
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How realistic is the 1 kg/km² solar sail in "Death's End"?

(This question has been migrated from the SciFi StackExchange.) From Cixin Liu's 2010 sci-fi novel Death's End (pages 68–69): "A radiation sail can be made very thin and light. Based on the ...
5 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
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Is there a very light material that could deorbit without burning up?

Is there a very light material that could deorbit without burning up? I am thinking of a very light, strong, heat resistant thread, rope, net, or sheet that sheds heat so fast as it deorbits that it ...
1 vote
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Is asbestos abated before putting space artifacts on museum display?

Asbestos has occasionally been used in spacecraft and other space artifacts: In the Apollo reaction control system. In the igniter of the Apollo tower jettison motor. Vinyl asbestos floor tiles in ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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What have astronauts used rolls of Kapton tape for?

An image (also below) in an answer to the question "How often is duct tape used during crewed space missions?" shows a roll of the gray stuff next to a roll of Kapton tape, aboard the ...
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14 votes
8 answers
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Would a duct tape spacesuit be practical?

Spoilers ahead for season 2 of For All Mankind. Essentially duct tape wrapped around the body, over clothing which looks like standard NASA jumpsuits for pressurized environments onboard spacecraft. ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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What sorts of flexible materials are best for use in space (particularly on the moon)?

Maybe I'm wrong, but flexible solids like rubber have always struck me as something that wouldn't hold up long in a vacuum, or exposed to high radiation, or through big thermal cycling. What sorts of ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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How will the future Mars Space Suit Helmet design protect Astronauts from Martian Radiation?

Mars Space Suit Helmet Visor's were mostly made up of polycarbonate [1], the same material used for EMU's visor for performing EVA in earth orbit. Meanwhile, Mars' radiation is 2.5x higher. How are we ...
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1 answer
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Wondering about materials [closed]

I am currently designing a Revit project on the planet Mars I was wondering what a wall on a base like structure need to consist of to protect its from the planet atmosphere. any thoughts ? regards, ...
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Could a Mars surface rover/probe be made of plastic?

I wonder whether the structure of a Mars surface rover or probe could be 3D printed from plastics on Earth and then shipped to Mars for its mission. That is, 3D printed from the common materials used ...
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Bronze material compatibility for mechanism exposed to LEO

I'm looking at using a worm gear for a latching mechanism on a spacecraft that's destined for a LEO trajectory. The mechanism is on the outside of the spacecraft, but the worm gear itself would be in ...
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Can or 'how long will' carbon fiber survive in space

Let's assume that social activist shut down metal mines in future. And we plan to built and launch another space station. Can we build it with carbon fibre? or is there any alternative to it? ...
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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 ...
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3 votes
2 answers
420 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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Challenges and power required to make useable iron from iron oxide on the surface of Mars?

There is a very large amount of iron oxide on the surface of Mars within easy reach (once you are there of course). What would be the practical challenges to collecting this and turning it into usable ...
11 votes
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Why did Hayabusa-2's capsule's parachute have transparent panels?

JAXA's photo of Hayabusa-2's capsule, at its landing on 2020 Dec 6, shows that its parachute canopy had some non-opaque sections. Why? Transparency has no advantage for this mission. Compared to ...
23 votes
2 answers
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How does steel deteriorate in translunar space?

To confirm the identity of a 1966 Centaur booster returning near earth in 2020, NASA took some spectroscopy observations. They didn't match those of the same metal (301 stainless steel) on earth, ...
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1 answer
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Kerbal Gone Wild - Could a DIY team create a Mercury-scale orbital capsule?

Given how much engineering has advanced since the days of the Mercury program, could a similarly scaled single-person orbital vehicle capable of repeatedly sustaining 48 hours in orbit realistically ...
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What coatings are used for printed circuit board protection in space?

Which coatings are better for printed circuit board (PCB) protection in space environment?
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How hard is the hardest ice in the solar system? Is it in Pluto's ice mountains?

NPR's Pluto Has White-Capped Mountains, But Not Because There's Snow includes the following: "Initially, it seemed logical that this high-altitude frost could form like on the Earth," says ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Did the Space Shuttle crew have to worry about monatomic oxygen?

Comments below this answer tell us that the Space Shuttle always remained in Earth's atmosphere. When it visited the Hubble Space Telescope or the ISS or Mir it was still in the thermosphere and ...
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1 vote
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Have any satellites been decommissioned because of oxidization?

Comments on Are galvanised steel parts safe to use in space? mention that oxidation happens in the upper atmosphere because of the relatively high presence of oxygen ions. This is apparently to the ...
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1 answer
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Are galvanised steel parts safe to use in space?

Are galvanised steel parts safe to use in space (high-vacuum environment), e.g. washers, fasteners, nuts? I've heard that zinc can sublimate at low pressures.
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Why would the Falcon 9 Block 5 carbon fiber thermal protection material need to be hydrophobic?

This answer to Nature of “the silky black 'highly flame-resistant felt'” on Block 5 Falcon 9's, and its intended functions? contains the following: This came into Falcon 9 design with Block 5 ...
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From what material and how are the Merlin engines and nozzles of it (sea level) manufactured?

I am specifically interested in the alloy used to build the engine, also about the nozzle: Is it just in one piece or welded using different sections. If they are welded then which welding techniques ...
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Why put chromium on the back side of this JPL-designed solar sail?

This 2013 JPL presentation Solar System Escape Architecture for Revolutionary Science March 2013 Conference NIAC Phase 1: 2012-2013 by PI: Jeff Nosanov Co-Is: Dr. Daniel Grebow, Dr. Brian Trease, John ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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What are beta cloth and beta marquisette, materials used in Apollo-era space suits?

The NASA PDF Space Suit which contains CSM21 Spacesuits pp 223-228 in the url name mentions beta cloth and beta marquisette several times. Question: What are they ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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What is the thickness of a rocket nozzle?

For a university project, I'm working on optimisation of a Falcon-9-like launch vehicle, and one element of that is varying expansion ratios of the engines. This will impact on the engine mass, but to ...
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How was the flammability of Velcro addressed after the Apollo 1 fire?

In a spacecraft review meeting held with Shea on August 19, 1966 (a week before delivery [of Apollo 1]), the crew expressed concern about the amount of flammable material (mainly nylon netting and ...
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Do vacuum-grade oils and greases trivially solve the "lubricants don't work in space, cold welding happens" problem (for short to moderate duration)?

(Related: How is the unwanted cold welding prevented in space?) I've often seen talk about fairly simple mechanical devices (hand tools, simple handheld power tools, firearms, etc) being unlikely to ...
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Space Shuttle type tiles, or something similar: Commercially available?

Related, but vague in conclusion and not really the same: Is the technology behind the Shuttle's heat-shielding tiles used in any product today? By "Space shuttle tiles", I mean the white rigid ...
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Is it possible for aluminium alloys in a explosion in space or on earth to become pure elemental powder particles? [closed]

If you have some kind of explosion, is it then possible for aluminium alloys to become powder particles?, is yes, can they become pure elemental aluminium particles?, or will they always be aluminium ...
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How to heat up the inside of a metal ball in space

Ok, they say third times the charm. Say you had a metal ball around 30 feet in diameter. At a distance of 143 million miles from the sun and you were trying to heat the air up inside the ball using ...
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Hydrocarbons of Titan: Potential Applications

Imagine in the future that some space agency or corporation has deployed a manned mission to Saturn's moon Titan with the intent of collecting samples of its hydrocarbons. This is to be accomplished ...
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Out of which alloys are the Common Core Booster and Common Booster Core propellent tanks manufactured?

All sources that I can find indicate that they are isogrid (or possibly orthogrid?) structural tanks manufactured of milled aluminum. However, I cannot find further detail about of which alloy ...
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