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Thermal-Protection System Set-Up


ACCESS: Top Secret
Feb 13, 2008
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I saw this diagram for a type of thermal protection system.

Basically it consisted of a heat-shingle on top, with an air-gap underneath it with a metal-bracing structure that was a vacuum, with the airplane's main-skin just below with a fuel-tank insulation under the skin. (I'm not sure if I'm mixing this last part up with another drawing but there may or may not have been some more structure below that and a foam insulation as the final part of the TPS)

I take it the vacuum section is to minimize heat transfer, and the air-gap was to absorb and carry away the excess heat that the shingle couldn't absorb?

How effective would such a TPS be? Would it be fairly light?