Heat shield

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Revision as of 23:06, 15 November 2016 by Blakemw (talk | contribs) (Added a section on how heat shields actually protect other parts)
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A heat shield is a part which protects shielded parts from overheating. almost all heat shields, excluding the Heat Shield (10m) work as ablative heat shields. This means each has a certain amount of ablative material, ablator, which slowly breaks apart carrying heat away. All of the heat shields currently in the game have a maximum temperature of 3,400 Kelvin and an impact tolerance of 9 m/s. As a rule of thumb, it is recommended to use them on capsules which are expected to return from 55 km or higher.

In version 1.1 the Heat Shield (10m) was added. This is the game's first inflatable heat shield. The part begins as a 2.5m component that inflates into a 10m diameter heat shield with a maximum temperature of 3,500 Kelvin.

Note that these can not only be used for atmospheric reentry, but also to separate a heat-sensitive stack from a heat-generating stage like an engine cluster.

All three of the ablative heat shields resemble the heat shield of the Orion MPCV.

As of 1.1, all heat shields can be jettisoned.

In 1.2 a smaller 0.625m heat shield was added.


Heat Shields create a "cylinder of coolness" behind them which protect other parts from heating. Actually any leading part will create a similar zone of coolness behind itself but Heat Shields are particularly effective in this role as they have high temperature tolerances.

Any part within the cylinder of coolness will not experience aerodynamic heating, despite this a small amount of heat will conduct through the heat shield to connected parts, this heat by conduction is not normally a problem but can destroy unusually heat-sensitive parts mounted onto or very close to the heat shield.

A heat shield is only able to completely protect parts which have a smaller radius, a 2.5m heat shield will protect all 1.25m parts, in addition conical parts (such as command pods) of equal radius will typically be protected, a 1.25m heat shield *will* protect a Command Pod Mk1. Cylindrical parts of the same radius are never protected, for example a 2.5m heat shield will not protect a 2.5m cylindrical fuel tank, nor a 2.5m battery, unprotected parts need to rely on their intrinsic temperature tolerance.


Image Part Radial size Cost
Max. Temp.
Heat Shield (0.625m) Tiny 150
3 300 9 50 50
Heat Shield (1.25m) Small 300
3 300 9 50 200
Heat Shield (2.5m) Large 600
3 300 9 50 800
Heat Shield (3.75m) Extra large 900
3 300 9 50 1 800
Heat Shield (10m).png
Heat Shield (10m) Large / 10m 2 400 1.5 3 500
(3 250)
9 50