Atmospheric-entry technology
The development of thermal protection system against the aerodynamic heating during atmospheric-entry
is crucial for a space transportation system including planetary exploration vehicle, space plane and re-entry capsule.

Our laboratory research and develop the innovative thermal protection system, that is "electro-magnetic heat shield"
and "flexible aeroshell", besides the conventional thermal protection system.

ƒElectro-magnetic Heat Shield„

As one of the alternative heat shield system, a method to make use of the electro-magnetic effect
on the partially ionized plasma flow inherent to the reentry flight have been proposed.
Recently, this system attracts much attention because it become possible to produce the strong magnetic field
by using a super-conducting coil.

In our laboratory, the various researches about the electro-magnetic heat shield is carried out
including the experiments using shock tube and arc-heated tunnel, numerical simulation and feasibility study.


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@ Visualization of shock layer enhancement by the applied magnetic field@(left) and
@ blunt model with applied magnetic field in hight enthalpy flow produced by Arc-heated tunnel (right)

ƒLow Ballistic Coefficient Atmospheric-entry with Flexible Aeroshell„

As another method to avoid the aerodynamic heating during the atmospheric entry, the low ballistic coefficient
atmospheric entry technology with flexible aeroshell is proposed.
The vehicle with the large but light aeroshell can decelerate at high altitude where the atmospheric density is very low,
and it leads to dramatic reduction of aerodynamic heating

Our laboratory conducts experimental study using various wind tunnel form low-speed wind tunnel to hypersonic wind tunnel,
numerical simulation about the flexible aeroshell for the atmospheric-entry.
Additionally, we carried out flight test using large scientific balloon in 2003 and 2004 and plan another flight test in 2009.

@¨Membrane aeroshell for atmospheric-entry capsule (MAAC) project

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Image of the atmospheric-entry capsule with flexible aeroshell (left) and flight test using large scientific balloon in 2004(right)

ƒAerodynamics and/or Thermophysics in Atmospheric-entry Environment„

Understanding the thermal and aerodynamic environment during atmospheric-entry is very important
for the development of thermal protection system.

Our laboratory contributed to "Hayabusa sample returen mission"
to research the thermal and aerodynamic environment during the re-entry from super orbit.

Now, we are studying aerodynamics and thermo physics of the high-speed and high-enthalpy flow
for the sample return mission and planetary entry mission in the future.

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Image of "Hayabusa" during re-entry