Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

FP7

RASTAS SPEAR Berichtzusammenfassung

Project ID: 241992
Gefördert unter: FP7-SPACE
Land: France

Final Report Summary - RASTAS SPEAR (RAdiation-Shapes Thermal protection investigAtionS for high-SPeed EArth Re-entry)



Executive Summary:

An important step for Space Exploration and for a more accurate knowledge of the Earth and of the universe is to collect samples from solar system bodies and bring them back to the Earth for analysis. Returning samples from Mars, Phobos or Near Earth Asteroids could help finding traces of extraterrestrial life and would provide a wealth of information on the formation of planets. Any sample return mission will end with high-speed re-entry in Earth’s atmosphere. This requires strong technological bases and a good understanding of the environment encountered during the Earth re-entry. Investment in high speed re-entry technology development is thus appropriate today to enable future Exploration missions such as Mars Sample Return. Rastas Spear project started in September 2010, with the main objective to increase Europe’s knowledge in high speed re-entry vehicle technology to allow for planetary exploration missions in the coming decades.

This is the background for Rastas Spear (www.rastas-spear.eu), an R&T project that received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013, under grant agreement n° 241992). The project was selected within the FP7 second call (Activity 9.2 – strengthening of space foundations / research to support space science exploration; SPA.2009.2.1.01 Space Exploration)

The project’s main objectives were:

- To better understand phenomena during high speed re-entry enabling more precise Capsule sizing and reduced margins.
- To identify the ground facility needs for simulation
- To master heat shield manufacturing techniques and demonstrate heat shield capabilities.
- To master damping at ground impact and flight mechanics and thus ensure a safe return of the samples.

10 partners from 8 countries participated to the project: VKI (B), Kybertec (Cz), Demokritos (Gr), IoA (Pl), CIRA (I), CFS (CH), MSU (Ru), CNRS (F), ONERA (F), and Astrium (F, coordinator).

This project started in September 2010 and was completed in April 2013.

The total budget is 2.3 M€, including a 1.6 M€-grant from the European Commission.

The main outcomes of the project are:

- an increase of the TRL for some key technologies such as crushable materials, or joints for thermal protection material,
- a relevant state of art of ground testing facilities for simulation of high speed entry was done, with a proposed concept for high enthalpy expansion tube, recognized as a currently missing facility.
- the development of suitable facilities, such as the air cannon for high speed testing of crushable materials, the plasma torch for investigation of coupled ablation-radiation phenomena, the rough and porous insert to experimentally address the Gas-Surface Interaction issues,
- the development of methodologies and tools, such as testing strategy proposed for super-orbital reentry, coupled tool developed for analysis of capsule entry, enhanced thermochemical models and turbulence models accounting for blowing and roughness to be included in CFD codes.

Project Context and Objectives:

An important step for Space Exploration activities and for a more accurate knowledge of the Earth, universe and environment is to develop the capability to send vehicles into space, which collect and return to Earth samples from solar system bodies. To return these samples, any mission will end by high-speed re-entry in Earth’s atmosphere. This requires strong technological bases and a good understanding of the environment encountered during the Earth re-entry. Investment in high speed re-entry technology development is thus appropriate today to enable future Exploration missions such as Mars Sample Return. Rastas Spear project started in September 2010, with the main objective to increase Europe’s knowledge in high speed re-entry vehicle technology to allow for planetary exploration missions in the coming decades.

The project’s main objectives were:

- To better understand phenomena during high speed re-entry enabling more precise Capsule sizing and reduced margins.
- To identify the ground facility needs for simulation
- To master heat shield manufacturing techniques and demonstrate heat shield capabilities.
- To master damping at ground impact and flight mechanics and thus ensure a safe return of the samples.

Project Results:

The project was completed by end of April 2013, with a successful achievement of overall project objectives, in particular.

- Increase TRL for key technologies such as crushable materials, or joints for thermal protection material,
- A relevant state of art of ground testing facilities for simulation of high speed entry was done, with a proposed concept for high enthalpy expansion tube, recognized as a currently missing facility.
- Development of suitable facilities, such as the air cannon for high speed testing of crushable materials, the plasma torch for investigation of coupled ablation-radiation phenomena, the rough and porous insert to experimentally address the Gas-Surface Interaction issues,
- Establishment of methodologies and tools, such as testing strategy proposed for super-orbital reentry, coupled tool developed for analysis of capsule entry, enhanced thermochemical models and turbulence models accounting for blowing and roughness to be included in CFD codes.
- A breadboard of sample return capsule
- the identification of areas where further research is required, such as CFD modeling of complex coupled phenomena, and detailed understanding of combined influence of blowing and roughness on aerothermodynamic environment.

Potential Impact:

Rastas Spear will likely contribute to the development of space exploration missions aiming at returning samples from Mars or an asteroid. In Europe, the European Space Agency (ESA) is currently studying three sample return missions where the progress made within Rastas Spear could be used:

- A sample return mission to an asteroid - MarcoPolo-R: MarcoPolo-R is one of the four candidates for ESA Cosmic Vision’s M3 mission to be launched around 2024. MarcoPolo-R is a mission to return a sample of material from a primitive near-Earth asteroid (NEA) for detailed analysis in ground-based laboratories. The scientific data would help to answer key questions about the processes that occurred during planet formation and the evolution of the rocks that were the building blocks of terrestrial planets. The mission would also reveal whether NEAs contain pre-solar material not yet found in meteorite samples, determine the nature and origin of the organic compounds they contain, and possibly shed light on the origin of molecules necessary for life.
- a sample return mission to Phobos, a moon of Mars - PhootPrint: PhootPrint is a candidate mission of the ESA Mars exploration programme after the Exomars missions (2016 & 2018). PhootPrint is a mission to return a sample of material from a moon of Mars for detailed analysis on earth. The scientific objectives and impact of PhootPrint are quite similar to MarcoPolo-R’s.
- a sample return mission to Mars - Mars Sample Return (MSR): MSR is one of the main objectives of worldwide space agencies for the future of space exploration. MSR would be a major step forward in space exploration and in our understanding of Mars and of a possible form of life on this planet.

These missions are currently being assessed and the outcomes of Rastas Spear are used to contribute to th ongoing ESA studies.

Beside contributing to ESA and possibly other space agencies' studies, the partners will exploit and disseminate the outcomes of Rastas Spear through three main actions:

- Communication: the partners will disseminate the results of Rastas Spear through conferences, papers, the project website and a video of the project.
- Use of the developed facilities and tools for other applications: the plasma torch and the air cannon, for example, are still operational and will be further used for aerospace and other domains.
- Earth Re-entry Capsule breadboard: Rastas Spear led to the manufacturing of a full scale breadboard of an capsule. This breadboard will be displayed in conferences, in Astrium show-room and at promotion events.

List of Websites:

Website: www.rastas-spear.eu

Contact details: Astrium Space Transportation

Jean-Marc Bouilly (jean-marc.bouilly@astrium.eads.net) or Aurélien Pisseloup (aurelien.pisseloup@astrium.eads.net)


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