Spacecraft construction question: fuel as radiation shielding

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mikejz

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I have been wondering this. If always seems that when I see the layout of the components of a spacecraft always seems to consist of a central bus whereby the propellant tanks is in the center and the payload is attached on the sides. Seeing the issues of radiation, and the high cost of rad-hardened elections, I am wondering why the propellant tanks are not used more to shield the elections. For example, encase the sensitive elections into a small balder that is suspended in the center of the main propellant tank. Just wondering if its mostly a cost/complexity issue or if there is something more fundamentally wrong with this observation.
 
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halman

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mikejz,<br /><br />Take a look at the 'Discovery' spacecraft in "2001: A Space Odyssey". The fuel tanks are clustered around a central strut, which connects the passenger/payload sphere with the engine module. Seperation is the best way to avoid radiation, as using fuel for sheilding means the sheilding is used up as the vayage progresses. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> The secret to peace of mind is a short attention span. </div>
 
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mikejz

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I was think more along of the line of a mission that needs to rely on a Jupitar gravity assist---the need for more resistent electionics drives the cost up, however not much spacecraft propellent has been used up until this point.......
 
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toothferry

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That's an amazing propulsion-radiation shield system, but I wonder why NASA hasn't already been investigating it. There must be a huge technology barrier else we would be hearing more about it.<br /><br />Here's an innovative approach to radiation shielding. <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> First, have minimal shielding around the entire habitat portion of the spacecraft. Then have radiation shielded suits and helmets for those on board to wear 24-7. The suits would offer the most shielding around the torso and head, least around the arms and legs where less shielding would be necessary. Special porous lines would carry air conditioned air throughout the suit for optimal comfort. Also, they could add additional layers during sleep to further cut their overall exposure.<br /><br />In this approach, the shielding is only where you need it, when you need it. Saves TONS, literally. <img src="/images/icons/cool.gif" />
 
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bobvanx

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>resistent electronics<br /><br />Whoops! I am so human-explorer centric that I missed those words in your first post.<br /><br />Takes alot of hydrogen to be a useful shield, and why bother for a flyby? Just put your electronics to sleep or perform a reset after your craft is out of the hard rads.<br />
 
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