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Mini Irene Flight Experiment (MIFE)

Wed, 11/29/2023 - 02:00
Start Date: 
End Date: 
Programme Reference: 
Prime Contractor: 
Centro Italiano Ricerche Aerospaziali
IRENE is a small re-entry platform intended for several applications including payload retrieval from LEO. It is equipped with a deployable, flexible aerobrake and allows low-cost short-notice missions.
In order to advance the TRL of this technology at a reasonable cost, a scaleddown flight demonstrator (MINI IRENE), fully representative of IRENE is proposed to be tested with help of a sounding rocket.
A successful Phase B of MINI IRENE has been recently completed with the construction and test of a ground demonstrator. The next step, objective of the present proposal, is to realize a flight hardware which will be tested in the frame of the DLR Mapheus sounding rocket mission for 2016 as piggyback payload.
The following activities are foreseen in the present study:
  • Interface analysis and adaptation of the capsule to the mechanical constraints.
  • Mission analysis and thermomechanical analysis of the new configuration.
  • Detailed design and construction of the critical components of the capsule:
  • Dampers, Locking Mechanism, Release Mechanism.
  • Interface with the rocket.
  • Electronics (OBDH, Beacon, Sensors, Deployment of sensors and antenna, power supply).
  • Surface treatments.
  • Tests of the critical elements (rods, shock absorbers, fabric, elect. cards etc..):
  • Deployment mechanism (functionality).
  • Deployment activation mechanism.
  • Aerobrake (aerodynamics and stability test).
  • Fabric (Thermal and Mechanical test).
  • Test or static loads on the aerobrake structure.
  • Crash (drop test) dummy structural model.
  • Electronics (test in vacuum).
  • Delivery system and electronic activation.
  • TLC (Tele-command)Test.
  • Definition of the qualification testing of the entire capsule.
  • Final design of the capsule and of all the subsystems.
  • Construction of the capsule and of all the subsystems.
  • Testing and qualification of all the subsystems:
  • Vibration test on complete system.
  • Functionality test (in thermo-vacuum conditions) of the system.
  • Assembly, integration and qualification of the capsule.
  • Delta qualification of the complete hardware on Scirocco plasma facility.
  • Launch campaign, recovery and post-fligth data analysis.
Application Domain: 
Space Transportation
Technology Domain: 
18 - Fluid Dynamics
Competence Domain: 
7-Propulsion, Space Transportation and Re-entry Vehicles
Initial TRL: 
Target TRL: 
Public Document: 
Executive Summary