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Water could replace spacecraft heat shield tiles

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#1    Althalus


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Posted 10 April 2003 - 02:16 PM

                                                  Space scientists looking for new ways to cool spacecraft on re-entry into Earth's atmosphere are turning to one of the world's oldest coolants: water.

Existing heat-shield technology leaves a lot to be desired. In the 1960s Apollo rockets used a heat shield that burnt off slowly - but this is no good for reusable spacecraft like NASA's fleet of space shuttles. And the silica tiles the shuttle uses are fragile and prone to damage.

user posted image View: Full Article | Source: Yahoo News                                                  

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#2    Halo_Jones


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Posted 10 April 2003 - 02:55 PM

                                                  Intresting article Al, but if they took water into space, then surely that would increase the weight for the takeoff and where would they store it?
As I understant it the Rocket breaks off during takeoff and all that is left is the shuttle, I can't see how it would be capable of holding a great deal of water. mellow.gif                                                  

#3    j6p


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Posted 10 April 2003 - 04:31 PM

                                                  The article gave me a thought. I was looking at the entire shuttle configured like an air conditioner. They could have a looping of tubes in the underbelly that have a gas circulating and vented at the top of the vehicle.
But I'm sure they thought of something like that already. I always thought the tile system that they came up with was flawed, I mean you take a 5+billion machine and stick hundreds of tiles on the bottom now if a few of these tiles come off BOOM the whole thing disintegrates. I never did like that idea and I'm glad that they are looking at alternative ways to vent the heat. Great article Alth.                                                  

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