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Cryogenic Moisture Uptake in Foam Insulation for Space Launch VehiclesRigid polyurethane foams and rigid polyisocyanurate foams (spray-on foam insulation), like those flown on Shuttle, Delta IV, and will be flown on Ares-I and Ares-V, can gain an extraordinary amount of water when under cryogenic conditions for several hours. These foams, when exposed for eight hours to launch pad environments on one side and cryogenic temperature on the other, increase their weight from 35 to 80 percent depending on the duration of weathering or aging. This effect translates into several thousand pounds of additional weight for space vehicles at lift-off. A new cryogenic moisture uptake apparatus was designed to determine the amount of water/ice taken into the specimen under actual-use propellant loading conditions. This experimental study included the measurement of the amount of moisture uptake within different foam materials. Results of testing using both aged specimens and weathered specimens are presented. To better understand cryogenic foam insulation performance, cryogenic moisture testing is shown to be essential. The implications for future launch vehicle thermal protection system design and flight performance are discussed.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Fesmire, James E.
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
ScholtensCoffman, Brekke E.
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
Sass, Jared P.
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
Williams, Martha K.
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
Smith, Trent M.
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
Meneghelli, Barrry J.
(ASRC Aerospace Corp. Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 27, 2013
Publication Date
September 9, 2008
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: AIAA Space 2008
Location: San Diego, CA
Country: United States
Start Date: September 9, 2008
End Date: September 11, 2008
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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