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Space blankets and How the TeamIndus spacecraft will survive in space

A look at multi-layer insulation and how we use it

Difficulties of managing heat in space

  • Electric power onboard the spacecraft is too limited to make use of heaters excessively.
  • The environmental conditions can drastically vary depending on the mission phase, making it difficult for one solution to adapt to all needs.

Preserving heat using a multi-layer space blanket

A closeup of a multi-layer insulation material. Source: Wikipedia

#1: Protection against excessive heat

Cross-section of JWST’s MLI sunshield that protects the sensitive optics from the Sun’s heat. Source: NASA JSWT

#2: Protection against excessive cold

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft fully covered with a gold-colored MLI (multi-layer insulation) to retain internal heat. Source: Wikipedia

#3: Why not just use a thick block shield instead?

#4: Protection from impacts

Use of MLI on the TeamIndus spacecraft

#1: In lunar orbit

Orbits of the TeamIndus Z-01 spacecraft around the Moon
TeamIndus spacecraft model showing MLI covered parts (yellow).

#2: Facing the heat during the lunar descent

The titanium heat shield (yellow) takes the intense heat load from the main engine.
MLI protection (yellow) between the main deck (purple line) and the heat shield (brown).

#3: Communication equipment

Antenna motors (center) wrapped in MLI at its bottom.

#4: MLI everywhere else

Star sensor model shown covered in MLI.




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Jatan Mehta

Space and Moon exploration writer ~ Contributing Editor, The Planetary Society ~ Thinker | Website: