Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 Thermal Protection  (Read 7783 times)

Offline CameronD

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Thermal Protection
« on: 08/12/2016 01:29 am »
Reading this part of Chris's article on the JCSAT16 launch -- "Due to Falcon 9 now using super cooled propellant, holds after prop loading begins around T-30 minutes provide an additional challenge of keeping the prop cold enough in the run up to T-0." {fixed spelling in the above quote, BTW :P } got me thinking:

Apologies if this has come up before and I missed it, but is there any reason the guys at SpaceX don't wrap part of the stage in a thermal blanket, zipped (laced most likely) up the side that could drop away a minute or less before launch??  Is this something they tried and discarded (pardon the pun) for some reason?

Modern industrial thermal blankets (TPS) aren't expensive, thick or heavy and are inherently flame-retardant.  Perhaps it might buy them a bit more time for propellant loading and reduce the "challenge" somewhat.
 
« Last Edit: 08/12/2016 01:33 am by CameronD »
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Offline docmordrid

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 Thermal Protection
« Reply #1 on: 08/12/2016 01:41 am »
>
is there any reason the guys at SpaceX don't wrap part of the stage in a thermal blanket, zipped (laced most likely) up the side that could drop away a minute or less before launch?? 
>
Modern industrial thermal blankets (TPS) aren't expensive, thick or heavy and are inherently flame-retardant.  Perhaps it might buy them a bit more time for propellant loading and reduce the "challenge" somewhat.

They used one on the Falcon 1 maiden launch in 2006, but haven't on Falcon 9 - perhaps size is an issue. I can't imagine one on BFR just because of its massive dimensions.

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2006/03/spacex-come-hell-or-high-water/

Quote
This was the first Falcon launch attempt which used a thermal blanket on the first stage tank in an attempt to mitigate LOX boil-off. The thin cryogenic blanket was attached to the tank with velcro, and was to be ripped off on liftoff by a lanyard attached to the launch platform.
« Last Edit: 08/12/2016 01:43 am by docmordrid »
DM

Offline CameronD

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 Thermal Protection
« Reply #2 on: 08/12/2016 07:05 am »
>
is there any reason the guys at SpaceX don't wrap part of the stage in a thermal blanket, zipped (laced most likely) up the side that could drop away a minute or less before launch?? 
>
Modern industrial thermal blankets (TPS) aren't expensive, thick or heavy and are inherently flame-retardant.  Perhaps it might buy them a bit more time for propellant loading and reduce the "challenge" somewhat.

They used one on the Falcon 1 maiden launch in 2006, but haven't on Falcon 9 - perhaps size is an issue. I can't imagine one on BFR just because of its massive dimensions.

Thanks.  I can't imagine one on BFR either, and was thinking more about the now-normal F9 'Full Thrust' stage used for the likes of JCSAT16.

I would not have thought size was an issue:  I agree it would be mighty big, but modern blankets are very light weight.  Perhaps the additional "challenge" isn't great enough to be worth the effort.
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 Thermal Protection
« Reply #3 on: 08/12/2016 04:00 pm »
.

I would not have thought size was an issue:  I agree it would be mighty big, but modern blankets are very light weight.  Perhaps the additional "challenge" isn't great enough to be worth the effort.


That is it.  It would be complex, especially the removal

Offline alang

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 Thermal Protection
« Reply #4 on: 08/12/2016 04:47 pm »
"it would be complex"

Also, the bigger the rocket the more the cube-square relationship between volume and surface area reduces the need.

Offline deruch

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 Thermal Protection
« Reply #5 on: 08/13/2016 04:05 am »
I'm sure they considered it.  As docmordrid points out, it was used on F1's 1st flight, so it's not like they'd never heard of it.  I can only deduce that they decided to mitigate the LOX warming issue through restricting their launch operations because the trades worked out better. 

As for NSF discussion of the topic, IIRC it was canvassed some in the "SpaceX Deep Cryo LOX Discussion" thread: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=39072.0

Though, that wasn't so much a main topic there. 
Shouldn't reality posts be in "Advanced concepts"?  --Nomadd

Offline vulture4

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 Thermal Protection
« Reply #6 on: 08/15/2016 03:40 am »
Even at the lower temperatures the only thing that will actually condense as a solid on the vehicle is water ice, in contrast to the Shuttle hydrogen tank, which if it were not insulated, would be cold enough for solid air to coat the tank.

Offline hms hexapuma

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 Thermal Protection
« Reply #7 on: 08/21/2016 06:03 am »
Reading this part of Chris's article on the JCSAT16 launch -- "Due to Falcon 9 now using super cooled propellant, holds after prop loading begins around T-30 minutes provide an additional challenge of keeping the prop cold enough in the run up to T-0." {fixed spelling in the above quote, BTW :P } got me thinking:

Apologies if this has come up before and I missed it, but is there any reason the guys at SpaceX don't wrap part of the stage in a thermal blanket, zipped (laced most likely) up the side that could drop away a minute or less before launch??  Is this something they tried and discarded (pardon the pun) for some reason?

Modern industrial thermal blankets (TPS) aren't expensive, thick or heavy and are inherently flame-retardant.  Perhaps it might buy them a bit more time for propellant loading and reduce the "challenge" somewhat.
 

Perhaps the extra effort and expense is simply not worth it for the <30 minutes that the new super cooled fuel loading protocol has the tank exposed to the atmosphere.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: SpaceX Falcon 9 Thermal Protection
« Reply #8 on: 08/21/2016 10:42 pm »
Reading this part of Chris's article on the JCSAT16 launch -- "Due to Falcon 9 now using super cooled propellant, holds after prop loading begins around T-30 minutes provide an additional challenge of keeping the prop cold enough in the run up to T-0." {fixed spelling in the above quote, BTW :P } got me thinking:

Apologies if this has come up before and I missed it, but is there any reason the guys at SpaceX don't wrap part of the stage in a thermal blanket, zipped (laced most likely) up the side that could drop away a minute or less before launch??  Is this something they tried and discarded (pardon the pun) for some reason?

Modern industrial thermal blankets (TPS) aren't expensive, thick or heavy and are inherently flame-retardant.  Perhaps it might buy them a bit more time for propellant loading and reduce the "challenge" somewhat.
 

Perhaps the extra effort and expense is simply not worth it for the <30 minutes that the new super cooled fuel loading protocol has the tank exposed to the atmosphere.

Rapid propellant load before launch has other advantages (responsiveness and flexibility), so I don't think it is worth the effort of making it take longer through some complex scheme.

Tags: falcon9 
 

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