In the frame of Activity 9.2.1 – Strengthening of Space foundations / Research to support space science and exploration - SPA.2009.2.1.01 Space Exploration, the actions proposed on RASTAS SPEAR project try to enlarge the basic capabilities on few known topics with low Technology Readiness Level and to strengthen European Industry and Research for coming or future Space Exploration missions with focus on Sample Return Missions like Marco Polo or Mars Sample return. The project does not analyse a specific mission but deals with crucial “bricks” to be well mastered for the design of a Capsule entering in the atmosphere with high speed (more than 10 km/s). These necessary bricks are: 1) To investigate on the available ground facilities and elaborate a proposal to improve these facilities in order to simulate in-flight conditions on ground. 2) to investigate and develop new and innovative methods, materials and systems for joining ablative blocks (tiles) together to produce a complete Thermal Protection System (TPS) for sample-return missions and validate them by tests with CIRA's Scirocco and DLR arcjet facility. 3) to identify and test damping, energy-absorbing systems to allow survival of the Capsule Payload (collected Samples from planets…) 4) to analyse the impact of ablation (and thus Capsule shape change) on the flight mechanics. 5) to investigate and test impact of surface roughness on the heat transfer between the flow field and the capsule heat shield. The return of invest for the European Community is a European capability to design carefully a Re-entry capsule with focus on mass and thus on mission cost.
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