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Effectiveness of Thermal Protection System in Design of Engineering Reentry Vehicles for Space Shuttle (Research Paper Sample)


this research paper seeks to expound on the effectiveness of thermal protection system and the best system that can attain these functions.


Effectiveness of Thermal Protection System in Design of Engineering Reentry Vehicles for Space Shuttle
Figure 1: Space Shuttle
Source:(Allahdadi et al. 2013:Safety design for space operations)
The beginning of 21st century has seen an increment in the number of scientists who travel to space for exploration and scientific research. There exist a massive difference between the planet earth and the space in terms of ability to support life. As such, in planning for a trip to space, major consideration should include safety measures, particularly in the choice of the travel tool.
Atmospheric reentry is defined as the movement of objects into the planet’s atmosphere through the gases in the planet from an outer space. There are two types of this entry namely, controlled entry and uncontrolled entry. Uncontrolled entry is rather natural without the influence of man activity as entry of celestial bodies whereas controlled entry is because of direct influence of man actions like entry of technological devices.
There exist several factors, which make this reentry to be tricky. As an object is entering the atmosphere, there is presence of several forces, which act in repelling or opposing the object movement like drag and gravity forces.Force of gravity acts by pulling an object back to earth. The existence of earth’s atmospheric air particles prevents the object from falling back, thus generating drag force. The interaction between these two forces causes generation of aerodynamic heating and atmospheric drag whose presence can disintegrate the object. Presence of thermal protection system is meant to reduce the effect of these forces on the object. These thermal protection systems exist in several types including, ablative, Avcoat among others. In essence, this research paper seeks to expound on the effectiveness of thermal protection system and the best system that can attain these functions.
Executive Summary
The designing of tools to enter space, particularly vehicles presents major challenges mostly related to safety measures and enhancing effectiveness of the vehicle. Space shuttle orbiter is one of the most commonly designed vehicles. Its design has to encompass the use o f thermal protection system, which is meant to protect it from aerodynamic heating generated by the interaction of atmospheric particles and the force of gravity. The combination of the trajectory of the vehicle as well as the nature and type of thermal protection system (TPS) in use in its design will determine the kind of distribution of temperature within the vehicle.
The most common type of TPS in use should have a capacity to handle high temperatures as well as an underlying thermal insulation, which is designed to inhibit heat conduction to the interior of the vehicle. The heat, which is generated in the process of aerodynamic, should be radiated to the space due to high surface temperatures. Thus, the choice of material to be used in the design of the vehicle as well as the thermal protection system is of key concern in this project. The capability of each material in terms of temperature handling capacity should be considered carefully .The key factors in choosing this material, which include its durability, its weight and its temperature handling capacity are also of key concern when selecting for use in the design of the vehicle or the thermal protection system. Therefore, the aim of this project is to come up with a protection system, which should be used in this design to attain this effectiveness of key concern.
For The project to be successful, it has to give a reasonably well thought out solution to the problem of atmospheric reentry using vehicles. Successful solution should meet the key requirements highlighted as.
* It must be the most cost effective ,reusable, and light weight thermal protection system to be used
* It must have the most durable material in its design with a low vulnerability to orbital debris
* The material used must have high temperature handling capacity or the capability of minimal thermal conductivity
* The proposed thermal protection system should be environmentally friendly
* The system must integrate well with other subsystems to enhance overall effectiveness
Developing a system that meets all the above listed constrains makes the proposed solution to be an economically viable option as well as a technical solution to the problems encountered during atmospheric reentry.

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