Heating Problems During Re-entry of Space Shuttles
$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now
As the space shuttle Columbia began its re-entry into Earth's atmosphere on February 1, 2003, it began to break up. While the exact cause of the shuttle break up is still being investigated, there are many theories being considered, many of which have to do with heating tiles under the shuttle. The paper examines the process of an air-shuttle's re-entry into the atmosphere and shows where things could have gone wrong with Columbia.
From the Paper:"In the final stage, the shuttle approaches the upper atmosphere and enters the ionization blackout. In the ionization blackout, hot ionized gases of the atmosphere surround the shuttle. This prevents radio communication with mission control for the about twelve minutes. At this point the shuttle is traveling at 17,000 mph. As the shuttle collides with air molecules, friction is generated which leads to surface temperatures of around 3000 F. The steep angle of re-entry ensures that most of the aerodynamic heating is directed towards the underside of the shuttle where the heat resistant tiles offer the greatest amount of protection. As the atmosphere thickens, the shuttle's thrusters are eventually switched off, at which point the shuttle's aerodynamic flight features kick in, and it can be flown like an airplane."
Cite this Essay:
Heating Problems During Re-entry of Space Shuttles (2003, June 22) Retrieved April 18, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/essay/heating-problems-during-re-entry-of-space-shuttles-28142/
"Heating Problems During Re-entry of Space Shuttles" 22 June 2003. Web. 18 April. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/essay/heating-problems-during-re-entry-of-space-shuttles-28142/>