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THE DLR REUSABILITY FLIGHT EXPERIMENT (REFEX) – CHALLENGES OF FLYING AN AERODYNAMICALLY GUIDED EXPERIMENT ON AN UNGUIDED SOUNDING ROCKET

Rickmers, Peter and Schmidt, Alexander and Kirchhartz, Rainer and Bauer, Waldemar and Stappert, Sven (2019) THE DLR REUSABILITY FLIGHT EXPERIMENT (REFEX) – CHALLENGES OF FLYING AN AERODYNAMICALLY GUIDED EXPERIMENT ON AN UNGUIDED SOUNDING ROCKET. 24TH ESA SYMPOSIUM ON EUROPEAN ROCKET AND BALLOON PROGRAMMES AND RELATED RESEARCH, 16.-20. Juni 2019, Essen, Deutschland.

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Abstract

The Reusability Flight Experiment (ReFEx) is being developed by DLR (German Aerospace Center) to provide flight and design data on, as well as operational experience with, a winged first stage of a reusable launch vehicle (RLV). As such ReFEx will be a small technology demonstrator and is slated for launch in 2022. The experiment will be launched on a VSB-30 sounding rocket to altitudes and velocities similar to a first staging event and will then attempt a return flight along a trajectory comparable to a returning winged first stage RLV, transitioning from hypersonic speeds down to subsonic velocity. ReFEx is about 2.7 m in length, has a wingspan of about 1.1 m and has a mass of approx. 450kg. It is controlled by a cold gas reaction system (RCS) while outside the atmosphere and transitions to aerodynamic control surfaces (canards and rudder) when atmospheric effects come into play. The maximum Mach number reached during the re-entry manoeuvre is about Mach 5. Besides being able to fly an optimised trajectory to reduce the thermal and mechanical loads, ReFEx shall demonstrate manoeuvrability by flying a turn of at least 30° with respect to the original heading measured from entry interface. One of the main challenges of the flight experiment is flying ReFEx on top of a VSB-30. The vehicle is not symmetric and has various aerodynamic control surfaces, which protrude the fairing covering the main foldable wings. As such there is a strong coupling between the experiment itself (i.e. the payload) and the launch vehicle during all phases of design. Especially in the early phases, various iteration loops between aerodynamic design, structure, mission design and subsystems where necessary to develop the system design. This paper details some of the challenges faced and how a solution could be found that satisfies both the capabilities of the launch vehicle and the ambitious mission goals.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/129317/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:THE DLR REUSABILITY FLIGHT EXPERIMENT (REFEX) – CHALLENGES OF FLYING AN AERODYNAMICALLY GUIDED EXPERIMENT ON AN UNGUIDED SOUNDING ROCKET
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Rickmers, PeterPeter.Rickmers (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-6500-7922
Schmidt, AlexanderAlexander.Schmidt (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Kirchhartz, Rainerrainer.kirchhartz (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Bauer, WaldemarWaldemar.Bauer (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Stappert, SvenSven.Stappert (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-8425-2779
Date:August 2019
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Status:Published
Keywords:RLV Hypersonics Flight Experiment
Event Title:24TH ESA SYMPOSIUM ON EUROPEAN ROCKET AND BALLOON PROGRAMMES AND RELATED RESEARCH
Event Location:Essen, Deutschland
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:16.-20. Juni 2019
Organizer:ESA
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Transport
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R RP - Raumtransport
DLR - Research theme (Project):Re-usability Flight Experiment (ReFEx)
Location: Bremen
Institutes and Institutions:Space Operations and Astronaut Training > Mobile Rocket Base
Institute of Space Systems > Systems Engineering and Project Office
Institute of Space Systems > Space Launcher Systems Analysis
Deposited By: Rickmers, Dr. Peter
Deposited On:26 Sep 2019 09:57
Last Modified:26 Sep 2019 09:57

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