Space Transportation Systems

Within the scope of work on key technologies for space transportation systems, the PHOENIX project from the German Aerospace Center’s (DLR) ASTRA space flight technology programme stands for reusable space transport systems. PHOENIX was developed and built under the direction of EADS Space Transportation in Bremen. The flight model was used as a test carrier for a future European reusable space transporter. PHOENIX is a scaled flying model of around seven metres in length, equipped with a newly developed flight guidance and control system and comprehensive sensor technology.

An initial fully automatic test flight of a PHOENIX test carrier in 2006 was a complete success: after one flight, the transporter landed on exactly on the spot on the runway in Vidsel in northern Sweden, without the help of an external controller.

The German Aerospace Center was involved with a significant role in multiple fields of the research and development work for PHOENIX, for example, with the design of the helicopter towed flight formation, the design, conduct of experiment and evaluation of the air data system, and the generation of a modern “hardware-in-the-loop” simulator, with which all the on-board systems of PHOENIX could be tested on the ground under realistic conditions. The sensor data from the flight test is also analysed by the German Aerospace Center, and system identification is performed.

MORABA Involvement

  • Data transmission system (telemetry/telecommand)
  • Remote control for flight termination system
  • Development and trial of a new parachute recovery system with three large main chutes