For ten years, DLR has been developing return technology under the SHEFEX programme that will enable flying objects to enter the atmosphere and land safely after a flight in space. A sharp-edged design is supposed to enhance mission flexibility and lower the cost of re-entry considerably. SHEFEX I successfully flew in 2005. On 22 June 2012, SHEFEX II took off, the first version to be actively controlled by wing flaps. It successfully completed all scheduled manoeuvres. All experiments on board SHEFEX II supplied copious amounts of data during the craft's ten-minute flight over the North Atlantic off the Norwegian coast. In one experiment, for example, cooling was achieved by nitrogen flowing through a porous thermal protection tile. The experience gathered with SHEFEX II will be employed in the successor project SHEFEX III, whose entry into the atmosphere will take 15 minutes at a speed of Mach 20, coming even closer to the orbital velocity of Mach 27.