Based on the heritage of carbidic ceramic matrix composites (CMC) applied for hot structures and thermal protection systems on re-entry vehicles, DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (Dasa) has developed Alumina-fiber reinforced CMC systems (Al-O/CMC) which do not require oxidation resistant coatings in atmospheric environment at high temperatures. As most launch vehicle configurations require in the vicinity of the rocket engine a thermal protection due to the impact of base heating their is a need to incorporate an adequate engine heat shield assembly. For the application on future RLVs this particular engine heat shield has also to be designed for reuseability. A thermal protection system constructed from Al-O/CMC will provide an attractive concept solution. This paper describes the route for development and technological maturation of a reference configuration of an Al-O/CMC based engine heat shield.