Feeds

Actively cooled rocket primed for easy re-entry

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

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
OK Google, do I have CANCER?
Company talks up pill that would spot developing tumors
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.