And (SpaceX) The future planetary spacecraft may involve the golden age of science fiction in more than one way: in addition to (theoretically) moving passengers from planet to planet, it may contain shiny stainless steel that looks like old pulp covers.
Founder and Chairman of the Executive Council Elon the Mask He took advantage of this possibility in a picture posted on Twitter, simply written "stainless steel ship." To be clear, this is not a complete spacecraft, just part of a test vehicle the company plans to use during a short "hopper." Trips in 2019 to evaluate different systems.
As with most Musk tweets, this storm started with speculation and arguments in Twitterverse.
The choice has surprised many people because modern spaceflight has been based on sophisticated composite materials such as carbon fibers, which combine the desired physical properties of low weight. When the metal is required, aluminum or titanium is more common. While some launch components, such as the top stage of Atlas 5, have used steel freely, it is certainly not a clear choice for a craft such as the spacecraft, which will have to deal with deep spaces and repeated re-entry.
As Musk notes in subsequent comments, however, stainless steel has some advantages compared to other materials when it is at very cold or very cold temperatures.
This is a special steel alloy with full rigidity that has been mentioned as one of the 300 sets of high-temperature alloys – not the nice and full of things we all have in our kitchens and buildings. Another "SuperLoy" musk called the SX500 has also mentioned that SpaceX astronauts have been developed for use in Raptor engines that will operate the vehicle.
So why stainless? It is likely to be all about re-entry.
Many of the reusable and reusable phases that must face high-speed atmospheric entry heat use a "thermodynamic" thermal shield that breaks down or breaks in a tight manner and carries heat away from the vehicle.
This is unlikely to be a possibility for StarShip. Replacing and repairing these materials will require downtime and crews anywhere, anywhere, and is intended to be a fast-paced ship with maximum reusability. Thermal shielding that reflects and lives is a better bet for that – but a tremendous engineering problem.
Scott Manley put a great video that illustrates some of these ideas and speculations in detail:
"Almost all the time you enter it again, it tries only the brakes, while distributing this force as large as possible," Musk said before the spacecraft (still called BFR) showed that. The Reentry will probably look like a space shuttle – the esque slips out of the Balloon's first Falcon 9 and brakes the engine.
Switching to stainless steel has a fun side effect that makes the vehicle look great – more in line with science fiction and comic books that readers might think. Paint jobs will burn immediately, said Musk:
You can not expect to remain shiny for a long time, it may be rusty, but like the frying pan left on the burner, stainless steel can still burn, and the bottom of the spacecraft is likely to look harsh after a while. Everything is fine – the spacecraft that develops the patina is a fascinating development.
Details are still few, and we all know that SpaceX can redesign the craft again based on how the tests go. Next year, we will see the first flights of StarShip's equipment, and perhaps the ultra-heavy bottom stage that will lift the brightest part of the lower atmosphere.
The technical documents promised by the musk should arrive in March or April, but whether they relate only to the test vehicle or give a glimpse of the SpaceX vehicle that you intend Send around the moon Is guessing anyone. In any case, you should expect to reveal more information on its own beforehand at your music's discretion – or not.