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Questions tagged [thermal]

How heat affects spacecraft and space missions, or materials and methods to deal with heat.

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What do the insulation and meteorite protection layers being opened on the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft look like?

This current news item in TASS Russian cosmonaut Kononenko approaches Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft for inspection says: Earlier in the day, the two Russian cosmonauts began their six-hour spacewalk, ...
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3answers
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Is it bad if hydrazine freezes on a spacecraft? Is it always kept as liquid, or can it be safely allowed to freeze and then thawed when needed?

After having read this answer I wondered what happens if hydrazine freezes. It looks like it is "normal" and not like water, in the sense that it contracts when freezing, unlike water which expands ...
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How will Robotic Refueling Mission-3's liquid methane tank remain full for six months without any boil off?

Space.com's Lasers, Crystals and 36,000 Worms Will Ride a SpaceX Dragon to Space Station says: To fly on those journeys, astronauts might have to someday harvest fuel from the surface of the moon ...
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59 views

Has the monthly average skin temp of the ISS increased during its years in orbit?

Is there a source of monthly average sun-side maximum temperatures during its (ISS) years in orbit?
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43 views

Why are the heat sensor probes in HP3 probe spaced with reducing gap with depth?

The HP3 probe used for studying the geothermal features of Martian surface, hammers upto 5m deep and inserts a tether lined with heat sensor probes. This link shared earlier by @uhoh, is an ...
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45 views

Why doesn't a regeneratively cooled engine crack due to differential expansion induced by thermal gradients?

A liquid rocket engine with regeneratively cooled chamber walls and nozzles would definitely be one among those components experiencing the steepest thermal gradients (Chamber wall inner - $3000 K$ ...
5
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1answer
69 views

Why is Adiabatic wall temperature taken as the driving temperature in rocket engines?

Going by the definition of convective heat transfer coefficient from Wikipedia (which I have started to doubt; reason follows): $h=\frac{q}{\Delta T}$, where the $\Delta T$ is taken as the difference ...
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What was NASA's “LUROVA” Operational Thermal Computer Model analog or digital? How were capacitors used?

@GremlinWrangler's answer links to Apollo Rover Lessons Learned Applying Experiences on the Apollo Lunar Rover Project to Rovers for Future Space Exploration by Ronald A. Creel, Space and ...
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1answer
129 views

How much wax is on the Moon? (Lunar Roving Vehicles)

I found the Cody's Lab videos from Scott Manley's video as described in this answer. Browsing through I learned from the first 30 seconds of Hot Wax Bottle? that the phase change of wax was used on ...
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1answer
115 views

What is a “diode heat-pipe” and why is it considered passive?

I just saw the following block quote and table (Table 4.4-1) in this answer about temperature limits of spacecraft electronic systems. A source for the document appears to be http://vibrationdata.com/...
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Thermal control

I am interested in spacecraft thermal control. Is there any book on the subject with a good theoretical base that I could look into? Thanks in advance.
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39 views

What is a current/good Mass Estimating Equation/Heuristic for space radiators/heating systems?

Has anyone does any analysis for thermal control systems for manned space habitats? I know Gilmore has data for unmanned systems, but I was looking for data for unmanned systems, preferably to develop ...
7
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1answer
240 views

Why were individual shuttle tiles changed from white to black or black to white?

The Paper Space Scale Models website has a PDF which details changes to the STS Orbiter Markings on a per-mission basis. Most of the changes are in the tiles. It can be seen that often a single black ...
3
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1answer
227 views

Why were early satellites produced with polished “mirror-like” surfaces?

Many/most early artificial satellites were spheres with mirror-like polished outer surfaces. I am guessing that for lower orbits the spherical shape minimized drag as well as simplified the analysis ...
7
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1answer
238 views

Lunar launch pad cooling

I read recently about the huge volumes of water that is sprayed on a launch pad during lift off. I remember it to be about four times as much water as fuel burned. This is done to reduce noise (energy ...
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1answer
920 views

Insulation on rockets--why take it to space?

I'm especially thinking of the loss of the Columbia due to damage from chunks of insulation that came off. I got to wondering, why is it there in the first place? Of course it's needed while you are ...
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5answers
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How does a solar eclipse affect satellites?

Satellites are somewhat closer to the Moon than the Earth is (Or rather, can be), and might well have the sun blocked from them. Furthermore, they can move somewhat more than the Earth, and thus have ...
7
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2answers
379 views

Why the thermal imaging of Mercury's surface requires a telescope on a jet flying through an eclipse?

The NASA News Feature Chasing the Total Solar Eclipse from NASA’s WB-57F Jets describes two telescope-equipped NASA jets that will fly fast enough to spend about 7 minutes in the Umbra (totality) of ...
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2answers
201 views

Why are deeper folds better for absorption?

The NASA News item NASA’s New Shape-Shifting Radiator Inspired by Origami describes a technique for spacecraft temperature regulation combining both a shape-changing surface and an emissivity-changing ...
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0answers
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What happens to Lunar (or asteroidal) regolith if sunlight is concentrated on it?

At 24:40 into this lecture, technology development scientist Laurent Sibille briefly describes an experiment done with a regolith simulant for Lunar Mare. The process of producing oxygen and reusing ...
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0answers
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How does “temperature” work in vacuum? [duplicate]

To conduct heat, a medium is required (e.g. Atmosphere) But at higher altitudes atmosphere is too thin, yet Wikipedia states temperatures in the thermosphere can rise to 2,000$^{\circ}$C ...
4
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1answer
117 views

Which format would be useful for satellite engineers to accomplish better thermal analysis?

I am developing a software that is capable of simulating the orbit for satellites for my master thesis. The software will not be able to make thermal analysis, but I think it can still help satellite ...
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1answer
477 views

What kind of thermal protection system does the Dream Chaser have?

What is the plan for a thermal protection system on the Dream Chaser and what advantages will it have over the Space Shuttle TPS?
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2answers
293 views

Mathematically, what is the argument in favor of skipping reentries?

As a tangent while looking for numbers for the L/D ratio impact on entry profile, I came upon this site which seemed to favor skipping reentries in almost all cases. Reading further, I realized that ...
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4answers
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How will Bennu's volatile compounds stay cool and unmodified by the heat of re-entry (OSIRIS-REx)?

Watching the video in this NYTimes article NASA Aims at an Asteroid Holding Clues to the Solar System’s Roots I realized for the first time how the samples actually make it back to Earth. The ...
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1answer
1k views

Why are RTGs different colors?

This is an image of the radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) for Cassini: This one was for one left on the Moon: And this one is for the Multi-Mission RTG, used by Curiosity on Mars: One is ...
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1answer
509 views

Why does the side of the LEM look almost black in this photo? Did that cause problems?

After reading this answer about the RTGs used on the Lunar surface, I added some of the images from the Wikipdia article Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package into this answer, where I noted that ...
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1answer
306 views

What were the uses of the RTGs in the Apollo spacecrafts?

I was listening to the Plutonium episode of "the Elements" on the BBC, and between 07:00 and 08:30 they talked about uses of plutonium such as spacecraft power and heat. While the returning astronauts ...
8
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1answer
394 views

How cold is the Martian sky at night? Or the day for that matter?

If you take a simple infrared "thermometer" which is actually a lot like a bolometer and point it at a clear sky, it says "cold!" because in the wavelength range that it's using (roughly 5 to 15 ...
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1answer
135 views

What thermal effect does the Sun have on spacecraft that are roughly the same distance from the sun as the earth is?

What thermal effect does the Sun have on spacecraft that are roughly the same distance from the Sun as the Earth? Specifically, do spacecraft need to constantly rotate so that one side doesn't get ...
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3answers
1k views

Is it normal for thrusters to “ice up”?

Towards the end of the JSSAT-14 webcast (around T+32:58), we see a thruster firing. Over the space of around 20 seconds, you can see it "icing up": What is this that's forming? Is this a normal ...
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1answer
173 views

Could IR space telescopes and other very cold devices use Zeeman slowers effectively in the near term?

Infrared telescopes need to be very cold (often below 10 K) to be effective. So do a few other miscellaneous things, including superconductors, if we ever use them in space for e.g. mass drivers or ...
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2answers
178 views

How close are Zeeman slowers to being useful for general cooling in space?

Related to Are there any promising next-generation space station cooling technologies?, I'm wondering specifically about a technology that hasn't been mentioned there: Zeeman slowers. Since these are ...
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2answers
499 views

How can I make robust guesses about waste heat from satellites?

For a university project I'm making thermal assumptions and introductionary design of a small satellite. Satellite electronics use around 30W energy in total (inc. Camera, on board computer etc.) . ...
17
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1answer
490 views

Are there any promising next-generation space station cooling technologies?

The ISS had problems related to ammonia more than once. These problems happened in different calender years, and it seems like almost every "near miss" that makes the news about the ISS is connected ...
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1answer
1k views

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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1answer
2k views

What is the cause of discoloration along the edges of the Quest Joint Airlock thermal cover?

I've noticed this discoloration / stains / burn marks along the edges of the Quest Joint Airlock thermal cover on the hatch before, but they seem even more pronounced and contrasting with the cover's ...
4
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1answer
339 views

What is the point of rotation of an “umbrella ship”

Some nuclear powered spacecraft designs have been entertained where the radiator is arranged in a plate geometry which rotates. For example: http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/realdesigns....
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1answer
2k views

How long is it feasible to store cryogenic fuels?

Working with liquid nitrogen all day, I am constantly bothered by their boiling away, forcing me to go get more from the storage dewar. Likewise should be the case with any cryogen, e.g. LH2 and LOX ...
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2answers
291 views

Are the lunar poles easier to manage thermally than the equator?

It seems like the greatest challenge of a colony on the moon is the fact that the temperature between night and day is so different. I would assume that this difference would not be as great near the ...
10
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1answer
369 views

How much heat did the Sabatier hardware add to the ISS heat profile?

A sort-of follow-up to Why does the International Space Station produce so much methane? In 2010 Sabatier hardware was integrated into the regenerative environment control. The Sabatier hardware ...
9
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1answer
555 views

Were any changes made to the composition of the Shuttle's thermal protection tiles over the lifetime of the program?

One of the main components of the Space Shuttle's thermal protection system for reentry was the layer of tiles on the outside of the orbiter. What, if any, changes were made to the composition of ...
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1answer
959 views

Has any technology been demonstrated that allows a useful payload to survive at least one month on Venus' surface?

According to the Wikipedia article on Venera-D, A lander, based on the Venera design, is also planned, capable of surviving for a long duration on the planet's surface. The surface of Venus has ...
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2answers
661 views

In space can the difference in temperature between the inside and outside, provide useful energy?

The Thermoelectric effect allows for electrical energy to be created, based on a difference of temperature. In fact the Radioisotope thermoelectric generator is based on this principal and does/has ...
10
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1answer
6k views

What material properties would be necessary to shield a lander from the environment of the Venusian surface?

On March 1, 1982, the Venera 13 lander survived for 127 minutes in an environment with a temperature of 457 °C (855 °F) and a pressure of 89 Earth atmospheres (9.0 MPa). This says nothing of the ...