Scientists from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences are Developing a Reusable Space System

Domestic | April 15, 2019, Monday // 08:45|  views

Scientists from the Institute of Mechanics at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (IMEh-BAS) are working on creating a multiple-use rocket system that will be cheaper, safer for the environment, and more efficient than existing US "recycling" missiles.

Bulgarian scientists are part of the European project FALON (Formation Flight for In-Air Launcher, 1st stage Capturing Demonstration) involving six partner organizations from Germany, Austria, Spain, Belgium and Romania, the academy announced on Friday.

Leading is the German aerospace agency DLR. Over the next three years, the project has been funded with € 2.7 million from the EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.

At present, much of the missiles and components used are simply thrown into or around the atmosphere and even found, in most cases are in poor condition and can not be restored for reuse.

This makes space flights extremely expensive and harmful to the environment. The only exception was NASA space shuttles developed in the 1970s, but after a series of breakdowns, flights were terminated in 2011. In recent years, billionaire's SpaceX and Blue Origin companies, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, are attempting to vertical landing the first stage of the missile on a special site to allow its re-use.

The European project is even more innovative - it envisages returning to Earth the rocket accelerator to be captured in the air. "After its separation and entry into the atmosphere, the control system and its wings allow descent on a planning trajectory." At a certain height, a specially designed small unmanned airplane fitted with a rope and coupling device captures the planned missile accelerator and dragged it to an appropriate location on Earth, which can be found thousands of kilometers from the starting position of the space rocket, where the accelerator is released and landed on its own like a "non-motorized" airplane, "explained the project manager at IMEh-BA Assoc. Prof. Valentin Penev

The European development has three control systems that work in sync - the airplane, the coupling device and the rocket accelerator. Initial tests will be done with scale models.

"Our approach is different from the one in the United States and its main advantage is that there is no fuel or engines in the planetary rocket accelerator, so it can launch a larger load into space," said Professor Penev. the size and start weight of the spacecraft can be reduced, which, together with their multiple use, greatly reduces costs.

Within the framework of the European project, the team of the Institute of Mechanics (BAS) of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences developed precise aerodynamic models of the rocket accelerator and the airplane.


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