The "Mini Irene Flight Experiment" (MIFE) is successfully completed. The capsule, launched on November 23 from the Swedish Space Center (SSC) with a Sounding Rocket Maser, has been recovered at the end of the suborbital mission. Based on data received from the Ground Station, the capsule was nominally ejected from the carrier, it successfully deployed, and performed reentry and landing as scheduled.
All the main mission objectives have been achieved. The flexible thermal protection system deployed correctly in space, withstood the dynamic pressure peak and related mechanical stresses during re-entry, and maintained its nominal attitude during the most critical flight phases in transonic and high subsonic regimes. The capsule transmitted all the telemetry data to the ground, allowing the reconstruction of the re-entry into the atmosphere and of the landing, providing the coordinates for the subsequent recovery. The impact on the ground caused, as expected, damage to the rigid nose and to the structures of the deployable heat shield which, being made with commercial "Off-the Shelf" materials, can be easily replaced at low cost for each single mission.
The success of this mission, together with the tests in the "Scirocco" Plasma Wind Tunnel and in the CIRA Space Qualification Laboratory, represent the first fundamental stage of a program that will see CIRA, ALI and the University of Naples Federico II engaged in the creation of the final system for return to orbit.