'Sharp' Rocket Set to Revolutionise Space Travel

Olá leitor!

Segundo o que foi publicado dia 16/07 pelo website alemão “http://www.thelocal.de” a "Missão SHEFEX II", que contará com a participação brasileira, será lançada em março de 2011 do Woomera Rocket Launch que fica no sul da Austrália. Veja abaixo na integra a matéria publicada em inglês no website alemão.

Duda Falcão

'Sharp' Rocket Set to Revolutionise Space Travel

German scientists unveiled on Friday the key part

of a flat-sided, re-usable space rocket they say would be much cheaper and easier to build than NASA's Space shuttles

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Published: 16 Jul 10 16:19 CET

The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) is developing the cutting-edge rocket that can re-enter Earth’s atmosphere without breaking up or suffering much damage, making it an affordable and easy-to-build alternative to than NASA's ageing space shuttles.

DLR scientists on Friday unveiled the 2.5-metre nose cone for the SHEFEX II program, short for “sharp-edged test flight,” at the DLR headquarters in Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich.

It will take its first test flight next March from Australia’s Woomera rocket launch site. A smaller and slower prototype, SHEFEX I, had a successful test flight from Norway in 2005.

“Our goal is to create step-by-step a re-useable space glider,” said project leader Hendrik Weihs from the DLR’s Institute for Design and Construction Research in Stuttgart.

The new model will be more heat-resistant, cheaper and, most importantly, easier to control in landing than any other type of launchable space craft.

The distinct angular nose cone has eight flat faces, which provide better aerodynamics and cheaper construction than the traditional round cone.

“The rocket therefore has nearly the aerodynamic qualities of a space shuttle, but it’s smaller and doesn’t need wings,” said Weihs.

The €12.5 million-program, funded entirely by Germany, is the only one of its kind – a rocket that can automatically guide itself back to Earth.

“We’re a pretty long way ahead,” said Weihs, adding that he hoped the project would father “a new generation” of rocket science.

NASA has decided to discontinue its space shuttle fleet, sparking a search for a replacement.

“But that system is very elaborate and very expensive,” Weihs said.

Normally, with ballistic capsules such as rockets, which are also used by Russian cosmonauts and Chinese taikonauts, the catch is that they cannot be controlled when they re-enter the atmosphere.

The DLR model, on the other hand, can be guided to a very precise point on Earth’s surface. That will be tested in Australia. The tricky part is controlling the craft as it descends from about 100km to roughly 20km altitude, after which it can be brought down by parachute to land in the desert.

“When the space craft enters Earth’s atmosphere, the air is very strongly compressed and grinds against the body of the craft.''

That can raise the temperature to as high as 10,000 degrees Celsius. The flat planes of the nose cone are specially prepared to deal with this, Weihs explained.

“With the new model, the heat on the planes is reduced. Only the apex will get extremely hot.”

To counter that heat, gas will be pushed through the porous material of the apex, acting as a buffer against the hot, compressed air.

Next year’s test flight will be unmanned, but with further funding, a manned flight is possible. Such progress could be made with co-operation from other members of the European Union or with the United States, Weihs said.

“First, the will has to be there,” he Said.

Source: German website http://www.thelocal.de

Comentários: Segundo essa fonte leitor, a missão SHEFEX II esta finalmente confirmada para março de 2011, quando então será lançada pelo foguete brasileiro VS-40 do Woomera Rocket Launch que fica no sul da Austrália. Vale lembrar que essa será a primeira vez que um foguete brasileiro será lançado de outro continente que não o europeu e o americano. Chamo a atenção de você leitor que entende com fluência o inglês e acompanha diariamente o nosso blog para o que diz o líder do projeto, Hendrik Weihs: “Such progress could be made with co-operation from other members of the European Union or with the United States”. Note que na ultima nota postada por mim aqui no blog sobre essa missão (veja a nota A Importância do Projeto SHEFEX II Alemão para o Brasil), faço uma sugestão ao DCTA/IAE que através do AEB/MCT fizesse uma proposta ao DLR alemão para um maior envolvimento do instituto ou mesmo do IEAv, que não ficasse restrito ao uso dos foguetes brasileiros, como por exemplo, a participação brasileira no projeto tanto com recursos humanos, como financeiros. Como o leitor mesmo pode notar pelo que diz o líder do projeto, as portas estão abertas. Cabe agora os órgãos que comandam o PEB tomarem iniciativa e não perderem mais uma grande oportunidade de participar de algo realmente relevante para o futuro do setor aeroespacial brasileiro.


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