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In physics, cryogenics is the production and behaviour of materials at very low temperatures.

In the aerospace context, cryogenic refers to the use of extremely low temperatures, typically below -150 degrees Celsius, for the storage and handling of materials, fuels, and other substances. Cryogenic temperatures are used for a variety of applications in aerospace, including propulsion, cooling, and the storage of materials.

Examples of cryogenic usage in the aerospace context include:

  • Cryogenic fuels such as liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen are used as rocket propellants in some launch vehicles, such as the Space Shuttle's main engines and the upper stages of the Saturn V rocket. These fuels are stored and handled in cryogenic conditions to keep them in liquid form and maintain their high specific energy.
  • Cryogenic cooling is used in a variety of aerospace applications, such as in the cooling of infrared detectors, superconducting magnets, and other electronic devices.
  • Cryogenic storage is used to preserve biological samples, such as plant and animal specimens, as well as other samples for scientific research during space missions.

Cryogenic technology is important in the aerospace industry, especially for high-performance propulsion and cooling systems. It allows for the use of materials and fuels that have a high specific energy, which is the energy per unit of mass, and enables more efficient operations and longer duration missions.

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