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SpaceX tests StarShell ceramic tiles with the heat shield of the CRS-18 Cargo Dragon



SpaceX announced on its CRS-18 Cargo Dragon website that a double-flying orbital spacecraft will have a handful of space-shielded thermal ceramic tiles designed to test a critical component flight from the next-generation SpaceX spacecraft.

Extremely unfavorable weather forced SpaceX to clear the planned CRS-18 launch around T-30 seconds to come out and tomorrow's backup window (July 25) does not look better. However, when the time of Central Florida decides to cooperate, Cargo Dragon's proven Cargo Dragon (C108) capsule will carry a small piece of its predecessor along with what is appropriate for the flight test, given that the capsule will also become the first commercial ship. although the Cargo Dragon re-use triangle is undoubtedly an impressive achievement, the spacecraft must necessarily make the third spacecraft's orbital voyage seem like a child's play if it wants to realize SpaceX's dream of radically lowering the cost of space flights. To do this, Star and Super Heavy will have to be the easiest spacecraft and boosters ever built and flying with near-endless margin, given that the ultimate goal is to require a little more than careful inspections between sub-boring launches and launching of orbital spacecraft. and reintroduction.

In order to achieve this incredible feat, SpaceX will have to develop, test and mass-produce thermal protection systems (including heat shields) that are more efficient than anything that has been flying in space. This is where Dragon Dragon (Dragon 1

) and Crew Dragon play.

The Cargo Dragon C113 heads its burned heat shield after returning to the harbor on June 4, after the successful mission of the CRS-17. (Pauline Acalin)
The Dragon C201 crew shows their heat shield after the first descent of the Earth from the orbital speed of the ship, March 8. (NASA / Cory Huston)

Although this Stellar heat shield test is surprising, it's just a logical extrapolation of SpaceX's trend towards hardware testing for retroflight flight testing. The regular and regular SpaceX SpaceX presentation of SpaceX offer an obviously invaluable platform for the company to test new technologies both in orbit and re-entry. In fact, SpaceX is the only organization – governmental or commercial – with a reusable spacecraft capable of bringing back a significant amount of cargo from space to the surface of the Earth.

If the Cargo Dragon C108 capsule continues its successful record of orbital missions and restorations, SpaceX will be able to restore the prototype of Starship's thermal shield ceramic shields completely intact, and thus access hardware tested in orbit and re- an introduction that has to provide invaluable Starlight data. It is not clear where exactly the Star Ship ceramic will be used, or if that means the transpirationally cooled steel tiles of the spacecraft have not crossed the path, but CEO Elon Musk will hopefully provide further details in a presentation later this month or early next.

Note that the Stellar heat shield test plates seem to be installed close to what is effectively the front edge and thus the most stressed area of ​​the heat shield. Ultimately, it is extremely impressive that NASA has accepted this significant modification and concluded – along with SpaceX – that the extra risk for the prototype is close to zero.

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