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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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3answers
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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
408 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
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
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 ...
3
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1answer
240 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 ...
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4answers
173 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
377 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 ...
3
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2answers
149 views

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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1answer
979 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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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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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 ...
17
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1answer
493 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
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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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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2answers
682 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 ...
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1answer
251 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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0answers
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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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1answer
174 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 ...
3
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2answers
181 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 ...
3
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1answer
191 views

Why do the ISS' Thermal Rotary Radiators need to tilt?

This answer shows the first image below of a vintage view of the ISS. Only one of each triplet of thermal radiators is extended from each TRRJ. The ISS' solar panels articulate to modulate the ...
2
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1answer
159 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
129 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/...