The reliability of wind tunnel and flight experiments very much depends on the quality of the sensors used. Supersonic and hypersonic flight experiments, in particular, require a high degree of reliability for the sensors.
Therefore, the department has been focussing on this topic in their research for a number of years. Here, the wide spectrum of qualification capabilities in its supersonic and hypersonic wind tunnels play an important role.
The Supersonic and Hypersonic Technology Department (HY) developed, for instance, the complete instrumentation for the successful hypersonic SHEFEX (Sharp Edge Flight Experiment) experiment, which proved the positive aerodynamic characteristics of sharp-edged configurations. Thermocouples, heat flux sensors, pressure sensors and micro-pyrometer were adapted for the specific flight conditions. These sensors including complete electronics for data processing were qualified and integrated into the vehicle by the engineers of the department.
Almost all of the 64 sensors provided correct data for the full duration of the SHEFEX flight. This data, in combination with the rocket platform data, enable the DLR scientists and their partners in industry to make qualified statements about the impact of sharp-edged configurations on the aerodynamic quality and the behaviour of different thermal protection systems during a hypersonic flight.
Furthermore, the sensors developed by this department can be easily modified so that they can also be used for future European flight demonstrators.