SHEFEX I Experimentalflugkörper mit facettiertem, keramischem Thermalschutzsystem und scharfer Anlaufkante
DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
SHEFEX II experimental missile with faceted ceramic thermal protection system, hybrid canards and CFK fairing before launch
Instrumented sharp-edged fiber ceramic fin for the HiFIRE Vb flight experiment
Within the SHEFEX flight test programme, the German Aerospace Center focused on the development for re-entry and hypersonic technology. Using adapted sounding rocket systems as used for micro gravity research it is possible to perform cost effective flight tests in a short time period. Thus, besides material or structural testing of hardware, the comparison of real flight data with numerical simulations and ground test results is very important to adjust and verify simulation tools and the plausibility of ground test results.The Institute had the project lead and contributed the structural design of the experiment. Main goal was to verify facetted fibre ceramic thermal protection system (TPS), sharp cooled and uncooled leading edges which should allow cost reduction of future TPS up to 70 %. On launcher side contour stable ablative leading edges, thermally stable fin structures and light weight non-metallic fairing structures were developed and flown within the SHEFEX Missions. Within SHEFEX the step by step development results in stepwise increasing velocity and test duration. SHEFEX I performs a Mach 6 flight for 20 Seconds. SHEFEX II reaches Mach 10-11 for 45 Seconds. SHEFEX III was aimed to reach Mach 20 for 15 minutes, a significant and ambitious step which require a big sounding rocket which is currently not available, but under development within the Brazilian-German VS-50/VLM Project. Further SHEFEX development is using now other flight opportunities of international partners.