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PICA is less dense than other materials and enables a lighter heatshield. Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablators (PICA) as Thermal Protection Systems for Discovery Missions Previous materials like fully-dense Carbon Phenolic (heritage entry grade Carbon Phenolic) used on more extreme missions like Pioneer Venus and the Galileo probe are propbably overkill ...


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This is just silly enough to be fun. Here is the requested plot: NASA Aerothermodynamics Course Lecture Notes has all of the equations I used: Sutton-Graves Convective Heating: $$\dot{q}_{conv}=k(\frac{\rho}{R_n})^\frac{1}{2}V^3$$ where $k=1.7415*10^{-4}$ for Earth. Martin Radiative Heating: $$\dot{q}_{rad}=\rho^{1.6}R_n^{1.0}V^{8.5}$$ Total heating rate ...


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