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Start date: Feb 1, 2012, End date: Feb 28, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The aim of this proposal is the development of TPS for their use in space applications with extreme oxidative environments and high temperature resistance, such as hot parts of space vehicles for orbital entry (ARV), planetary probes and NEO exploration. Previous studies on ARV vehicle have shown that TPS hybrid systems based on ablators integrated with thermo-structural materials are good candidates. Europe has limited research and producers in ablative materials, almost abandoned since ARD missions in the 80´s. Recently the Moon robotics exploration program within ESA demands ablative solutions for thermal protection of planetary probes.As expressed in the work program 2011, the space sector is contributing to the independence, security and prosperity of Europe. In this way, the European Commission has stated that a non-dependent access to the critical space technology is required at Europe level. The development and testing of ablative materials has not been intensively studied in European in the last 10 years, and few producers have been maintaining the capabilities for dual applications.These technical approach is focused on a Hybrid TPS based on ablative/thermostructural assembly and their further testing rather than on the material development. The hybrid systems development will be addressed to the integration of ablative outer-shield and their joining with thermostructural frames based on ceramic composites and will provide an innovative technology solution consistent with European supplier’s capacities. In particular the joining of the different parts will be carried out by the use of advanced bonding technologies. The ablative parts will consist of two kinds of materials (resin based and cork based) while the CMCs will be based on carbon fibres reinforced SiC conventional composites. Relevant on-ground re-entry testing will be carried-out in a “plasma wind tunnel” facility and the results will be contrasted with the envisaged specifications.
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