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La Capsula Mini Irene si prepara al lancio

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Mini-Irene Capsule is ready for the launch

The Capsule Mini-Irene, demonstrator of an innovative thermal protection system for atmospheric re-entry, designed by CIRA, approaches now the launch and its sub-orbital re-entry mission.

In the past weeks at the CIRA Space Qualification Laboratory, Mini-Irene, in the launch configuration, was qualified for inertial acceleration loads similar to those of the launch from Sounding Rocket. In particular, the capsule was installed onto the Centrifugal Machine type CTR-8G of the CIRA Space Qualification Laboratory and forced to a static acceleration value along the thrust axis equal to 8.5 times the gravity acceleration, and  for a duration comparable to the launch ascent.

The launch of the Mini Irene capsule is scheduled in November 2020 from the Esrange European launch base in Kiruna, Sweden, with the Sounding Rocket VSB-30. The capsule will reach an altitude of about 260 kilometers. During the ascent it will be released by the Rocket and, after the jettisoning of the panels of the outer shell, it will deploy the umbrella-shaped heat shield which will allow it to safely return to the atmosphere and subsequently recover onto the Earth. The particular umbrella shape of Mini Irene, and the low ballistic coefficient, will allow, during the return to the atmosphere, reduced thermal and mechanical loads and so the use of extremely light and cheap thermal protection systems available on the market. Furthermore, the possibility of launching a capsule with a heat shield in a folded configuration will reduce the limitations due to the size of the fairing, allowing in the future the use of heat shields much larger than the ones currently used.

​The Mini Irene project, where CIRA plays the important role of Prime Contractor and System Design as well as that of Test Authority, was funded by the Italian Space Agency as part of ESA's GSTP programs. It has the main objective of qualifying, through a suborbital flight, a test in the Scirocco plasma wind tunnel and a test campaign at the Space Qualification laboratory, an innovative deployment and thermal protection system.

​These technologies are considered so important and advantageous that other Space Agencies are working on the development of shields for thermal protection based on deployable mechanisms, to be used for the return to Earth and also for the entry into the atmospheres of other Planets of the Solar System.​


 

 

Mini-Irene Capsule is ready for the launch<img alt="" src="https://www.cira.it/PublishingImages/Test%20accelerazione%20capsula%20mini%20irene.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />https://www.cira.it/en/space/accesso-allo-spazio-satelliti-ed-esplorazione/mini-irene/la-capsula-mini-irene-si-prepara-al-lancio/Mini-Irene Capsule is ready for the launchMini-Irene Capsule is ready for the launch<p style="text-align:justify;">The Capsule Mini-Irene, demonstrator of an innovative thermal protection system for atmospheric re-entry, designed by CIRA, approaches now the launch and its sub-orbital re-entry mission.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In the past weeks at the CIRA Space Qualification Laboratory, Mini-Irene, in the launch configuration, was qualified for inertial acceleration loads similar to those of the launch from Sounding Rocket. In particular, the capsule was installed onto the Centrifugal Machine type CTR-8G of the CIRA Space Qualification Laboratory and forced to a static acceleration value along the thrust axis equal to 8.5 times the gravity acceleration, and  for a duration comparable to the launch ascent.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The launch of the Mini Irene capsule is scheduled in November 2020 from the Esrange European launch base in Kiruna, Sweden, with the Sounding Rocket VSB-30. The capsule will reach an altitude of about 260 kilometers. During the ascent it will be released by the Rocket and, after the jettisoning of the panels of the outer shell, it will deploy the umbrella-shaped heat shield which will allow it to safely return to the atmosphere and subsequently recover onto the Earth. The particular umbrella shape of Mini Irene, and the low ballistic coefficient, will allow, during the return to the atmosphere, reduced thermal and mechanical loads and so the use of extremely light and cheap thermal protection systems available on the market. Furthermore, the possibility of launching a capsule with a heat shield in a folded configuration will reduce the limitations due to the size of the fairing, allowing in the future the use of heat shields much larger than the ones currently used.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">​The Mini Irene project, where CIRA plays the important role of Prime Contractor and System Design as well as that of Test Authority, was funded by the Italian Space Agency as part of ESA's GSTP programs. It has the main objective of qualifying, through a suborbital flight, a test in the Scirocco plasma wind tunnel and a test campaign at the Space Qualification laboratory, an innovative deployment and thermal protection system.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">​These technologies are considered so important and advantageous that other Space Agencies are working on the development of shields for thermal protection based on deployable mechanisms, to be used for the return to Earth and also for the entry into the atmospheres of other Planets of the Solar System.​<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><br></p>2020-02-10T23:00:00Z

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