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Hypersonic vehicles for Europe’s fast future into space

Written by  Thursday, 20 June 2024 10:39
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Hypersonic Europe

When hypersonic aeronautics and space exploration meet, European engineers dream of a future fast-track return-ticket to space.

Hot topics

Participants in the workshop listed several topics to make a crew vehicle for low Earth orbit a reality. The experts identified eight areas of synergy:

Airbreathing propulsion as a key to reach hypersonic speeds.

Wing body designs and morphing structures. Adaptable geometries in combination with high-temperature and lightweight materials for aerodynamic efficiency.

Insulation and thermal management. Thermal protection systems, novel materials, and cryogenic propellant.

Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC). Specific challenges associated with high-speed flight, including precision.

Reuse of lightweight high-temperature materials. Evaluation of fatigue and reflight capabilities for two distinct cases: controlled reentry and long-duration flights.

Safety considerations specific to crew vehicles. There is a need to regulate human roles and responsibilities. This includes the distinction between passengers, crew members, ground operators and considerations for the environment.

Crew survival systems. Crew safety and survival systems for anomalies as major drivers in the design of the vehicle.

Cryogenics storage and distribution systems. Cryogenic fuel and oxidiser storage technologies, and their management.

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