Aero Sekur re-entry module passes test

Aero Sekur’s SPEM (SPacecrew Emergency Module) described in the September 2008 edition of Eureka has successfully passed a major qualification test to simulate atmospheric re-entry.

The test at the Scirocco Plasma high-enthalpy wind tunnel at CIRA, the Italian Aerospace Research Centre, has confirmed that the module will withstand the extreme temperatures of around 1,250°C generated during atmospheric re-entry.

Designed for use as an escape mechanism by orbiting astronauts, and for returning samples to earth, the module uses a silicon based ablative heat shield supported by an inflatable structure. The module, which has a scheduled operational date of 2015, has been developed to protect an astronaut or sensitive payload during emergency re-entry phase. At less than half the weight of traditional MMC or ceramic solutions, Aero Sekur’s re-entry option will provide considerable savings in mission operation costs.

Aero Sekur’s re-entry module is the result of a three year development project by the company’s dedicated space business unit.

Tom Shelley

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