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Test Mini-Irene Ground Demonstrator

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Mini-Irene successfully passes the Scirocco test<img /> successfully passes the Scirocco test<p style="text-align:justify;">Over the past few days, a test campaign was successfully carried out on the Ground Demonstrator of the MINI-IRENE capsule in the CIRA SCIROCCO hypersonic plasma wind tunnel.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB">The main aim of the test was the thermo-structural qualification of the deployable heat shield, </span>or rather the demonstration of its capacity to withstand the extreme conditions that occur during the delicate re-entry phase into the Earth's atmosphere. The innovative heat protection system consists of a ceramic Nose and thin, multi-layer, ceramic fibre fabric.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The 3-minute test has paved the way for the next phase, the creation of the Flight Demonstrator of the capsule that will be subjected to a severe campaign of environmental tests at the CIRA Space Qualification Laboratory. Finally, next November, at the ESRANGE European launch site in Kiruna in Sweden, the capsule will be launched from a Sounding Rocket, on a sub-orbital trajectory with an apogee altitude of 250 km.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Mini-Irene project, in which CIRA plays the important role of Prime Contractor alongside that of the System Design and Test Authority, is funded by the Italian Space Agency within the context of the ESA General Support Technology Programmes (GSTP) and its final objective is to qualify an extremely innovative deployment and heat protection system compared to those normally used on re-entry aircraft.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The project, developed in collaboration with the ALI SCARL Consortium in the Campania region of Italy and the "Federico II" University of Studies of Naples, is unique both in terms of its materials and its configuration type. The particular umbrella-shape of Mini-Irene, with a low ballistic coefficient, will enable the reduction of both the heat loads as well as the mechanical loads during the re-entry phase into the Earth's atmosphere making it possible, therefore to use extremely lightweight and low-cost heat protection systems as these are readily available on the market. Moreover, its small scale allowed by the deployment mechanism, represents an advantage in terms of footprint during the launch phase.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This experience confirms the decisive support that CIRA gives to industries both on a national and Campania region level as regards the production of innovative products, with evident impacts on competitiveness, development and employment. CIRA represents an aggregation centre of skills, infrastructures and project design for the aerospace sector in the Campania region of Italy and more specifically for the high-tech SMEs; with its network of national and international research and industrial partners, CIRA represents a real opportunity for international growth for local companies. This driving force will be even more effective thanks to the major updating of the strategic objectives of the National Aerospace Research Programme that will enhance the infrastructure endowment alongside the development of new aeronautical and space-based applications " – commented the CIRA President, Paolo Annunziato, upon conclusion of the test.<br></p><p>July 4th, 2018<br></p>2018-07-03T22:00:00Z

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