Encyclopedia Astronautica
1963.01.22 - Mercury white paint patch experiments.


McDonnell Aircraft Corporation reported to the Manned Spacecraft Center on a study conducted to ascertain temperature effects on the spacecraft as a result of white paint patch experiments.

On both the MA-7 and MA-8 spacecraft, a 6-inch by 6-inch white patch was painted to compare shingle temperatures with an oxidized surface; the basic objective was to obtain a differential temperature measurement between the two surfaces, which were about 6 inches apart. Differences in spacecraft structural points prevented the tests from being conclusive, but the recorded temperatures during the flights were different enough to determine that the painted surfaces were cooler at points directly beneath the patch and on a corresponding point inside the spacecraft. According to McDonnell's analytical calculations, white painted spacecraft were advantageous for extended-range missions. However, McDonnell pointed out the necessity for further study, since one limited test was not conclusive.

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