Ever since the first launches rockets in space, we saw a variety of colors of their shells. Today, on the other hand, a significant proportion of them coincide in that most orange. It doesn’t matter which space agency launched it or which company built it. They all seem to have this rusty tan. But why?
It’s not aesthetics, it’s functionality. In fact, although decades ago rockets were completely white, this orange color was also present under the paint, which gave them a flawless look. And, fortunately, precisely because the tonality is determined insulating This is necessary to protect the fuel tanks from possible sudden temperature changes.
The difference between before and now is that white paint has been proven to be real. it’s not really necessary. But let’s see why insulation is needed and why it is no longer necessary to paint the rocket completely white.
Orange missile insulator
rocket fuel tanks sprayed with insulating foamwhich protects against both temperature rise and high pressure. As explained by NASA, it consists of two liquids, isocyanate and special blend of polyolswhich remain separated in the pumping system and are mixed in the spray gun, after which they are released and rise as foam.
Result sooner yellow. However, when it comes into contact with the ultraviolet rays of the sun, it changes to a characteristic rusty orange color. Therefore, the thing is necessary.
Why were they all white before?
Although the foam insulation itself protects the rocket from temperature changes, in the past it was decided to further enhance the protection by putting layer of white paint. This reflects solar radiation and prevents rockets from overheating. That is why in some very hot cities houses are painted white. And also the reason why planes are usually that color.
However, over time it became clear that no need for white paint on the orange insulator. In fact, this means an increase in weight of more than 270 kilograms, which makes the rocket more expensive to manufacture and reduces the payload that can be launched with it.
For this reason, it was finally decided leave orange insulating foam in the air. Other colors may be seen depending on the company, but orange is usually always present for this reason.
It is true that they are not completely orange and usually retain some white. This is because, spending so much time outdoors, the paint can protect rockets from solar or rain corrosion. In short, a balance is achieved to protect the car without adding too much weight.
Source: Hiper Textual