Feeds

Superconductor forcefield to shield re-entering spacecraft?

Euro/Russian plan for submarine missile test mulled

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Space boffins have hatched a plan to test their radical new superconductor magnet forcefield re-entry heatshield technology by firing it into space from a Russian submarine.

Flight International reported on the scheme yesterday, describing cooperative efforts by German space agency DLR (Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt), the European Space Agency and Euro aerospace megacorp EADS Astrium.

The proposed test module would use a magnetic field generated by superconducting magnets to deflect the superhot plasma which results when a spacecraft re-enters Earth's atmosphere at the tremendously high speeds required by space missions. Normally the heat is resistant by super-tough but troublesome insulating materials, as in the space shuttle, or by one-shot ablative coatings which burn off as a spacecraft descends.

Magnetic shielding, if successful, could offer the prospect of lighter and more reliable heat shields, as well as that of being able to re-use re-entry craft more easily.

Flight quotes an EADS Astrium official, Detlev Konigorski, as saying that the idea is "gaining more momentum", but nonetheless far from being a done deal. However, the DLR is now said to be "on board".

Not many of the technical issues seem to have been addressed yet, with the allied corporate and space-agency boffins still assessing the performance of the proposed superconducting coil and pondering methods of fitting it into a Russian "Volan" escape pod.

If the ploy goes ahead, however, the idea would be to test it relatively cheaply by launching the magnetic Volan on a suborbital trajectory using a modified SS-N-18 ballistic missile (NATO codename "Stingray") fired from a Russian submarine offshore and coming down in the remote Kamchatka peninsula. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.