ASP projects

HyperSMS: GOING HYPERSONIC, Spaceplane Multifunctional Structures

The HyperSMS project is devoted to the identification of a solution for achieving reusability of space vehicles and thus increasing space access capability. What really is the obstacle for the realization of a truly reusable space vehicle is the flight phase called re-entry, when the space vehicle impacts with the Planetary atmosphere at hypersonic velocity. In these conditions, the friction with air is so intense that the produced heat can vaporize materials and ionize the surrounding air, producing a plasma, which cause the so called telecommunications blackout.
In the present scenario, the vast majority of space vehicles is not designed to sustain atmospheric re-entry, and is completely destroyed during it. Only few specifically designed vehicles, primary used for manned missions, are able to survive at the extreme environment of re-entry but losing any communication for few minutes. The current materials and structures used to shield the vehicle from the high temperature hypersonic gasses are not able to sustain re-entry with negligible degradation, impeding any immediate reuse of the vehicle.
Thanks to the knowledge acquired on re-entry environment and the state of the art regarding space vehicle, materials for extreme temperature and mitigation of plasma effects that induce telecommunications blackout, the team has been able to propose and combine suitable solutions. The full integration of all the technical knowledge associated to the project has been accomplished in the creation of simulation toolbox. The computational instruments determine the vehicle trajectory, heat fluxes and plasma characteristics during the re-entry. From these results the thermal loads to the heat shields and the effectiveness of the plasma mitigation to enhance telecommunications are quantitatively computed.

Principal Academic Tutor
Emma Angelini, Technology and Applied Science Department, Politecnico di Torino

Academic Tutors
Domenic D’ambrosio, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, Politecnico di Torino
Sabrina Grassini, Technology and Applied Science Department, Politecnico di Torino
Mario Marchetti, Aerospace Department, Università La Sapienza, SASLab
Marco Parvis, Telecommunication and Electronic Departement, Politecnico di Torino

External institutions
Agenzia spaziale italiana

Team members
Chiara Corrà, Nuclear Engineering, Politecnico di Milano [Team Controller and Communication Coordinator]
Alessandro D’Ettorre, Materials Engineering , Politecnico di Milano
Paolo D’Incalci, Aerospace Engineering, Politecnico di Torino
Edoardo Martino, Materials Engineering, Politecnico di Milano
Angela Giulia Ruberto, Telecommunications Engineering, Politecnico di Milano
Paolo Francesco Scaramuzzino, Aeronautical Engineering, Politecnico di Milano

Download the poster of the Project