The German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology in Göttingen is the only facility in Europe that can correctly reproduce the absolute velocities of spacecraft re-entry flows. It can achieve flow velocities of up to seven kilometres per second.
Reproducing flow velocity correctly
By correctly reproducing the kinetic energy of the flow, as well as the high gas temperatures produced as a result (approximately 10,000 kelvin), this large-scale facility makes it possible to examine how chemical reactions in gas influence fluid mechanics upon re-entering the atmosphere of Earth, or entering the atmospheres of other planets.
The experimental data obtained in the HEG are used to validate DLR’s numerical methods. In addition, they can be compared with flight data, allowing the quality of both experimental data from the facility and data from flight experiments to be assessed.