Feeds

Actively cooled rocket primed for easy re-entry

German SHEFEX II mission trials new heat shield, sharp-edged design

Security for virtualized datacentres

A German spacecraft featuring an angular design and active cooling of the heat shield looks set to launch in April.

The Sharp Edged Flight Experiment (SHEFEX II) appears on the Andøya Rocket Range’s April rocket launch schedule (PDF). The SHEFEX website also mentions a Spring 2012 launch.

SHEFEX I tested the basic concepts of a sharp-edged space plane in order to see if such craft could withstand high-temperature re-entries. SHEFEX II will add active cooling to the heat shield of a test capsule that will be sent aloft on a two-stage sounding rocket which will soar to about 200 kilometres.

Project Manager Hendrik Weihs from the DLR Institute of Structures and Design in Stuttgart says the addition of active cooling will mean gas flows through pores in the craft’s heat shield.

"As the gas emerges, it forms a kind of cooling protective layer across the surface, preventing atmospheric gas from making direct contact with the spacecraft," Weihs said.

Higher-temperature re-entries mean spacecraft need not have wings to glide the final kilometres to earth’s surface and can instead use parachutes. The SHEFEX II team also hope that Europe – and especially Germany – can therefore land spacecraft on its own soil.

The SHEFEX program has big goals, as illustrated by the schedule below. Keen-eyed readers will note that some of the planned milestones in the graphic have already been missed.

SHEFEX also has the distinction of being the only all-German spacecraft. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
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.