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A heat shield tile in the wind tunnel

"Ten seconds." Tension rises tangibly in the control room. "Five," states systems engineer Ingo Schwendtke. Everyone looking out of the windows of the shelter at the enormous pipes of the wind tunnel now raises their hands and sticks their fingers in their ears. "Zero." The systems engineer starts the trial. An bang reverberates through a darkened building at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) facility in Göttingen. Then air races down the 60 metre long wind tunnel at ten times the speed of sound and flows across the model of the sharp-edged SHEFEX II spacecraft. This elaborate trial lasts for just a few milliseconds.

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