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Through the atmosphere with sharp edges

After a 10-minute flight, the sharp-edged SHEFEX II spacecraft landed safely west of Spitsbergen. Researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) launched the seven-ton and roughly 13-metre-long rocket and its payload from the Andøya Rocket Range in Norway at 21:18 CEST on 22 June 2012. As it re-entered the atmosphere, SHEFEX withstood temperatures exceeding 2500 degrees Celsius and sent measurement data from more than 300 sensors to a ground station. “The SHEFEX II flight takes us one step further in the road to developing a space vehicle built like a space capsule but offering the control and flight options of the Space Shuttle much more cost-effectively,” says project manager Hendrik Weihs.

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