A foam core shield (FCS) system is now being developed to supplant multilayer insulation (MLI) systems heretofore installed on spacecraft for thermal management and protection against meteoroid impacts. A typical FCS system consists of a core sandwiched between a face sheet and a back sheet. The core can consist of any of a variety of low-to- medium-density polymeric or inorganic foams chosen to satisfy application-specific requirements regarding heat transfer and temperature.
The face sheet serves to shock and thereby shatter incident meteoroids, and is coated on its outer surface to optimize its absorptance and emittance for regulation of temperature. The back sheet can be dimpled to minimize undesired thermal contact with the underlying spacecraft component and can be metallized on the surface facing the component to optimize its absorptance and emittance. The FCS systems can perform better than do MLI systems, at lower mass and lower cost and with greater volumetric efficiency.