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European Flexible hEat Shields: advanced TPS design and tests for future in-Orbit demonstration - 2

Project description

Increasing the maturity level of inflatable heat shield technology

Inflatable heat shields help spacecraft slow down and offer protection upon re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere or that of another planet. They could also replace propulsion devices in end-of-life disposal of space systems, thereby reducing space debris. The EU-funded EFESTO-2 project will raise the maturity level of the heat shield technology (TRL 5) developed in a previous project (EFESTO) for future re-entry missions. EFESTO-2 will pave the way for new space mission concepts that involve the landing and safe touchdown of heavier payloads on Mars or the reusability of the launcher upper stages.


EFESTO-2 is the natural follow-on of the project EFESTO (H2020 grant 821801) and it aims at increasing the European know-how and technology capabilities in the field of Inflatable Heat Shields (IHS). It will lean on the great achievements obtained in the frame of the father project EFESTO by implementing the needed forward advance to improve the current TRL for future re-entry missions.

The project pillars will be:
-to consolidate the use-case applicability through a deep business case analysis for a meaningful space application
-to extend the investigation spectrum of the father project “EFESTO” to other critical aspects of the IHS field
-to increase the confidence-level and robustness of tools/models and know-how developed in the frame of the father project “EFESTO”
-to ensure continuity in presiding the IHS field in Europe among the scientific and industrial community

The inflatable heat shields can be considered as a fundamental mean to both decelerate and protect the space system during re-entry, thus providing key contribution to the functions of re-entry and descent, therefore EFESTO-2 will satisfactorily fulfil the objectives of the HE call “HORIZON-CL4-2021-SPACE-01-23” contributing to the part of the scope strictly related with entry/descent systems and solutions.

In particular EFESTO-2 will contribute to:
-expansion of commercial space transportation offer and services because maturation of Inflatable Heat Shields will allow their applicability to recovery and reuse of launcher’s stages
-execution of design and performance studies as well as business cases analysis with ad-hoc work packages
-maturation of relevant technologies up to TRL 5-6 through a ground test campaign
-matching the EU Green Deal objective because maturation of Inflatable Heat Shields technology can replace propulsion devices in end-of-life disposal/de-orbiting of space systems, hence reducing environmental impact of space debris as well as of chemical propulsion.


Net EU contribution
€ 204 787,50

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Centro (ES) Castilla-La Mancha Ciudad Real
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 295 537,50

Participants (7)