Why Are Satel­lites Wrapped In Gold?

Science Illustrated - - ASK US -

The golden wrap­ping, with which many satel­lites and space probes are pro­vided be­fore launch, func­tions as in­su­la­tion and en­sures that the equip­ment gets nei­ther too cold nor too warm in space. The satel­lite must re­main above a min­i­mum tem­per­a­ture to al­low its elec­tron­ics to work prop­erly. The golden colour re­flects the sun­light, so it does not heat the equip­ment. The in­su­la­tion con­sists of sev­eral lay­ers of foil, which also of­fers slight dust grain col­li­sion pro­tec­tion.

The foil used to in­clude gold, but now, it is typ­i­cally made of the kap­ton plas­tic ma­te­rial cov­ered in a thin layer of alu­minium. The com­bi­na­tion makes the in­su­la­tion re­sem­ble gold, but is much stronger.

Satel­lites are wrapped in golden foil to pro­tect equip­ment from sun­light, etc., but the foil does not in­clude real gold. A S N

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