Lightweight Thermal Protection Systems for Space Vehicle Propellant Tanks 640025

Efficient storage of propellants (especially cryogenics) in space for more than a few hours will generally require the use of multiple foil insulation and/or shadow shields. The practical problems involved in applying both foil and shadow shields, and the current state-of-the-art are discussed. Performances in both an Earth and space environment are given for various foil insulated systems. Realistic weight estimates, supported by some experimental data, indicate that foil, despite its application penalties, outperforms all other nonfoil insulations; also, that shadow shield systems can be extremely lightweight and definitely should be considered for future thermal protection systems.


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