PSP Bibliography


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Case study of the parker solar probe thermal protection system: Development of a system level process for high temperature technology achievement

AuthorCongdon, Elizabeth; Mehoke, Douglas; Conkey, Shelly; Schaefer, Ed; Abel, Elisabeth;
KeywordsHeat shielding; High temperature effects; High temperature engineering; Manufacture; NASA; Probes; Thermal insulating materials; Parker Engineering
AbstractSuccessful development of high temperature systems is complex and difficult. Limitations in testing, manufacturing and materials means that design and testing of such systems is challenging. NASA s Parker Solar Probe (PSP) Spacecraft built by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory was launched in August 2018 and is measuring the Sun s atmosphere in situ. A critical technology development which made this mission possible is the 4.5 inch-thick Thermal Protection System (TPS) that has to withstand 2500°F and protect the spacecraft from the harsh environment of the Sun. This technology was developed and qualified using a system level process that will be replicated on future missions such as Interstellar Probe (ISP). Bringing a technology development item from a low-technology readiness level (TRL) through TRL 6 and on to flight qualification is fraught with challenges. Often the leap between TRL 3 and TRL 6 is referred to as the valley of death because so few developments make it through. This statement is particularly true for high temperature systems due to their unique challenges. For example, test-as-you-fly exceptions due to testing limitations need to be well understood and verified. In order to be successful in this type of technology development, a well-developed methodology particular to the system of interest must be established. This methodology relies on simultaneous material testing and development, systems testing and development, manufacturing process development, and analysis. Working on these development efforts in tandem was critical to understand the TPS not only as a set of high temperature materials but as a system that protects the PSP spacecraft at the Sun. Lessons learned from this approach are being applied to Interstellar Probe.
Copyright © 2019 by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF). All rights reserved.
Year of Publication2019
JournalProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
Number of Pages
Date Published