Hypersonics › Report

Aerothermodynamic Reentry Flight Experiments - EXPERT

J. Muylaert, L. Walpot, H. Ottens, F. Cipollini


The paper addresses the ESA in-flight Aerothermodynamic (ATD) research programme referred to as EXPERT: the European EXPerimental Re-entry Testbed. The objective of this in-flight research programme is to design and instrument generic configurations, for in-flight measurements of critical ATD phenomena using state-of-the-art instrumentation.

Hypersonic flight data are required for improved understanding of the following critical ATD phenomena:

  • Transition,
  • Catalicity and oxidation,
  • Real gas effects on shock wave boundary layer interactions,
  • Microaerothermodynamics,
  • Blackout.

Special attention is given to the design of the flight measurement sensors themselves, their integration into the TPS as well as to the measurement of the free stream parameters during re-entry using an Air Data System.

In addition to the procurement of "good enough" hypersonic data, the EXPERT programme also includes wind tunnel testing and numerical simulations to complete the above-listed critical ATD validation process, including wind tunnel to flight extrapolation activities.

The present paper will report on:

  • Selection of reference mission profiles offered by the Volna launcher,
  • Geometrical design optimization of the configuration, and
  • Elaborate on the embarked payloads for the provision of the hypersonic data associated with the above-listed critical ATD phenomena.

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