MT Aerospace to Manufacture Elements of ESA’s IXV Reentry Vehicle


OHB PR — MT Aerospace received an important follow-up order to manufacture ceramic compound body flaps and heat shield components for the European IXV reentry vehicle: after completion of the development phase and successful Critical Design Review, Thales Alenia Space Italia, as prime contractor, and the Augsburg, Germany based company signed a contract for the qualification and manufacture of the IXV vehicle’s flight hardware. IXV will be launched into space in 2014 to test reentry technologies for future space applications.

The lightweight ceramic body flaps, each with a length of 0.8 m and a weight of ca. 37 kg, as well as main components of the thermal protection system on the vehicle’s leeward side have been developed in Augsburg and are fabricated of patented, high-temperature resistant fiber-reinforced ceramic composites.

These high-performance composites ensure that the components will withstand extreme temperatures of up to 1,900°C and quasi-static loads of up to 5.7 g – a crucial prerequisite for the successful reentry of the IXV, during which the vehicle starts from an altitude of around 450 km and reaches a velocity of 7.5 km/s on entering earth atmosphere.

The highly complex components are going to be delivered by the second half of 2013. IXV will be launched into space on board of a Vega launcher and is intended to collect a large number of useful data at reentry. The aim is to gain valuable knowledge on reentry systems for future European space missions.