Development and Qualification Program for TPS Preparation to the IXV Mission 2008-01-2148
The need to validate through an in-flight experience the re-entry systems and technologies and their strategic value in the field of space transportation and exploration future mission, led in Europe in the past years to design and develop several experimental vehicles in the frame of National and ESA programs.
In this context, the Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP) has been conceived by the ESA Member States to collect and harmonize the know-how gained by the European Space Community and to direct the technical effort and the necessary funds relevant to this matter on the development and the manufacturing of an European Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV), a re-entry demonstrator, to be launched at the beginning of the next decade (2012).
Among the technological challenges to be demonstrated through the IXV mission, the verification of the advanced Thermal Protection System (TPS) and Hot Structures (HS) in realistic flight conditions represents one of the primary objectives of the IXV project.
The selection of the various TPS&HS components and technologies to be embarked on the IXV has been driven by different constraints as the IXV mission requirements, the utilisation of the TPS&HS elements identified as essential for the operations of re-entry vehicles and of the TPS&HS components and technologies under development in Europe which appear the most suitable and promising (with reference to their current TRL) to allow the maximum increase of the TRL as result of the IXV mission.
In addition, the same TPS&HS elements shall comply with the vehicle architecture and adequately support the mission at an affordable cost.
In order to meet these constraints the need to submit the TPS&HS components and technologies to an IXV dedicated development and qualification program before the flight appears as essential.
With reference to the IXV System Requirements Review (SRR) configuration the various TPS&HS elements are presented in terms of design and main performances as well as the verification philosophy and the consequent development and qualification program foreseen at all product levels: material, technology, component, assembly and subsystems up to the involvement in the vehicle system verification.