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The Reusability Flight Experiment – ReFEx: From Design to Flight – Hardware

Rickmers, Peter and Bauer, Waldemar and Stappert, Sven and Sippel, Martin and Redondo Gutierrez, Jose Luis and Seelbinder, David and Bernal Polo, Pablo and Razgus, Bronislovas and Theil, Stephan and Acquatella B., Paul and Wartemann, Viola and Merrem, Clemens Hans-Joachim and Ruhe, Tobias and Elsaesser, Henning and Welter, Michael and Schmidt, Alexander and Damp, Lloyd and Williams, Peter (2021) The Reusability Flight Experiment – ReFEx: From Design to Flight – Hardware. In: Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC. International Aeronautical Congress 2021, 25.-29. Oct. 2021, Dubai, VAE. ISSN 0074-1795.

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The hypersonic flight experiment ReFEx has been under development at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) for a number of years and passed CDR in September of 2021. It will be launched on a VSB-30 sounding rocket in 2023 from Koonibba Test Range (KTR) in Southern Australia. The sounding rocket will inject ReFEx into a trajectory typical of aerodynamically controlled RLV-booster stages, where it will test several key technologies required for future reusable aerodynamically controlled first stages. A key feature of ReFEx is its sole reliance on aerodynamic means for the return leg of the flight, including a heading change of more than 30°, providing valuable flight data at the other end of the spectrum for RLVs (Reusable Launch Vehicle) from current propulsive return concepts [1]. With its length of 2.7 m, a wingspan of 1.1 m, a mass of approx. 400 kg, ReFEx features a densely packed fuselage, containing systems critical for flight as well as sophisticated sensors for flight analysis. With the passage of CDR, the project is progressing into the flight hardware production and verification phase [1]. The paper summarizes the latest status of ReFEx and shows how key challenges such as trajectory optimization, aerodynamic control with control reversals of the aero surfaces, thermal loading, folding wind systems as well as operational issues such as flight safety and campaign planning where tackled to be able to freeze the design and reach CDR status.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/147352/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:The Reusability Flight Experiment – ReFEx: From Design to Flight – Hardware
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Rickmers, PeterPeter.Rickmers (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-6500-7922
Bauer, WaldemarWaldemar.Bauer (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Stappert, SvenSven.Stappert (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-8425-2779
Sippel, MartinMartin.Sippel (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Redondo Gutierrez, Jose LuisJose.RedondoGutierrez (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-0037-2299
Seelbinder, DavidDavid.Seelbinder (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Bernal Polo, PabloPablo.BernalPolo (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Razgus, BronislovasBronislovas.Razgus (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Theil, StephanStephan.Theil (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-5346-8091
Acquatella B., PaulPaul.Acquatella (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Wartemann, ViolaViola.Wartemann (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Merrem, Clemens Hans-JoachimClemens.Merrem (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Ruhe, Tobiastobias.ruhe (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Elsaesser, Henninghenning.elsaesser (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Welter, MichaelMichael.Welter (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Damp, LloydSouthern LaunchUNSPECIFIED
Williams, PeterSouthern LaunchUNSPECIFIED
Date:October 2021
Journal or Publication Title:Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:RLV, hypersonic, flight experiment
Event Title:International Aeronautical Congress 2021
Event Location:Dubai, VAE
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:25.-29. Oct. 2021
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Transportation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R RP - Space Transportation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Project ReFEx - Reusability Flight Experiment
Location: Bremen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Space Systems
Deposited By: Rickmers, Dr. Peter
Deposited On:13 Dec 2021 11:14
Last Modified:07 Mar 2022 11:28

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