China develops new coating for spacecraft thermal control

Wed, 22 Jun 2022 04:56:37 GMT
Space Daily

Beijing (XNA) Jun 21, 2022 Chinese scientists have developed a metallic-based thermal-control...

Chinese scientists have developed a metallic-based thermal-control coating for the Shenzhou-14 crewed spaceship that will protect the taikonauts from extreme heat and cold during their six-month stay in orbit.

The new coating works in two ways: providing low solar absorption to help reduce the sun's effect on the spacecraft's interior temperature; and providing low infrared emittance to block heat release from internal sources.

Tasked with completing the construction of China's Tiangong space station, the orbiting Shenzhou-14 taikonauts will witness several complex station configurations during their six-month journey.

Cargo craft and lab modules that dock with the space station core module are likely to block the sunlight to the spaceship, resulting in long-term exposure to the extreme cold found in the shadows of deep space.

The extreme high- and low-temperature environments pose challenges to the health of the taikonauts and the functioning of the spacecraft.

Developed by the China Academy of Space Technology, the thermal-control coating was first used on the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft, which was launched on Oct. 16, 2021.

It kept the cabin environment within acceptable temperature ranges during its six-month space journey, allowing the taikonauts to stay cool and comfortable in their orbiting home.

China launched the three-person Shenzhou-14 mission on June 5, providing the third crew for the country's space-station project.

During their stay in orbit, the crew will witness two lab modules, the Tianzhou-5 cargo craft and Shenzhou-15 crewed spaceship docking with the space station core module.

During the first test, more than 280 gigabits of data were transferred at a range of 114 kilometers during a period of more than 40 minutes.