Re-entry into Earth's atmosphere is considered one of the most critical moments in spaceflight. To make the journey into space and back to Earth safer, cheaper and more flexible, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has designed an experimental spacecraft: Shefex II. To check their computer calculations before the flight, the DLR researchers will be simulating re-entry of this spacecraft using a model. Wind tunnel trials are being conducted in the High-Enthalpy Shock Tunnel at DLR Göttingen, one of Europe’s main large-scale facilities for research into hypersonic flight and the re-entry of spacecraft.
This computer -generated image shows the flow velocity distribution around Shefex II. These computer calculations are being verified in the wind tunnel experiment.