The relative effects of entry parameters on thermal protection systems (TPS) weights and a concise method for calculating TPS weights



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Shielding both man and machine from the severe thermal environment of a hypersonic atmospheric entry requires the design of sophisticated spacecraft thermal protection systems (TPS's). Thermal node models have been developed for two such systems proposed for the shuttle orbiter. Optimum thicknesses of the insulation layers of these TPS's have been determined for given free stream conditions and vehicle locations. By sizing these systems for a cross-section of return trajectories, the effects of free-stream conditions and of the orientation of the body to the free-stream on the weight of the TPS are shown. To facilitate future studies, the data gleaned has been used to develop a concise method for determining the local and total insulation weights. This correlation reduces the numerous steps previously required for these solutions to a few simple calculations.