Screening Tests on Cryogenic Insulations for Reusable Launchers 2005-01-2899
Low-cost access to space is an objective that next generation launchers are greatly pursuing since last years. Cryogenic insulations, as a part of highly reusable thermo-mechanical architectures, can contribute to significantly withstand repeated operative life cycles without remarkable degradation, so increasing the system reusability.
Considerable effort is presently focused worldwide on the technology development of reusable insulating systems applied to cryogenic tanks for liquid propulsion. In the frame of a contract funded by ESA, Alenia Spazio performed a preliminary screening tests campaign on four initial material foams available on the European market. Major tasks were the evaluation of the coefficients of thermal expansion, resistance to tensile and compression forces through a wide temperature range (20°K to 423°K) in order to select the two most promising ones for bonding application to Aluminum Lithium tanks.
Tests results and screening conclusions are reported in the present paper, together with trade-offs performed to select the best cryogenic adhesive for bonding to Aluminum -Lithium tanks.
In parallel, insulating solutions alternative to the foams, such as aerogel blankets, were investigated and compared from both design and reusability impacts points of view.