Expert: European eXPErimental Reentry Testbed

The Expert reentry vehicle is a flight testbed aiming to obtain aerothermodynamic (ATD) flight data to validate design tools, ground test facilities and verification techniques. The design and verification of future atmospheric missions will benefit significantly from flight validation of ATD methods, reducing uncertainties and improving reliability.

The Expert spacecraft during re-entry flight (artist's impressio
Expert during reentry

Expert's mission is a suborbital ballistic reentry flight. It will be launched from a Russian submarine on a Volna rocket and will land on the Kamchatka Peninsula. The initial reentry velocity is 5 km/s, with a flight path angle of -5.5 at an altitude of 100 km.

The entry parameters have been chosen in order to correlate the flight measurements with the conditions simulated by ground facilities available in Europe, including plasma wind tunnels such as the Scirocco in Italy and Plasmatron in Belgium. This will allow validation of the ATD physical models with real flight conditions and correlation of ground testing facilities.

The top level mission objectives are:

  • To obtain flight data associated with critical ATD phenomena, such as boundary layer transition, gas surface and shock layer interactions, real-gas effects and plasma chemical composition
  • To reduce design margin and uncertainties using in-flight measured data to validate numerical database, computer fluid dynamic tools and to correlate ground test results
  • To develop engineering technologies and advanced materials for thermal protection system, and experiment with new instruments and advance sensors for ATD measurements techniques
  • To gain engineering knowhow within European industry on the development of reentry and transportation systems, increasing the Technological Readiness Level of these technologies.

For further information, contact:

Jose Gavira
Expert Project Manager
Jose.Gavira.Izquierdo@esa.int

Last update: 26 July 2010

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