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  • Lessons learned from the Recovered Heatshield of the USERS REV Capsule

    Paper number



    Dr. Tetsuya Yamada, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)/ISAS, Japan


    Mr. Seiji Matsuda, IHI Aerospace Co, Ltd., Japan


    Mr. Sumio Kato, Japan


    Prof. Yoshifumi Inatani, Japanese Rocket Society, Japan



    The USERS REV capsule made reentry flight from the low earth orbit and was successfully recovered on the sea in May, 2003. This paper presents the post flight analysis of the recovered heatshield of REV capsule and summarizes the lessons learned. REV capsule, totally about 670 kg, has combined shape of the nose hemisphere and the rear conical part, and its size is 1.5 m in diameter and 2 m in length.  REV is thermally protected against the aerodynamic heating by the carbon phenolic ablator heatshield. Measurement data such as deceleration rate, temperatures in the heatshield were recoded in the onboard memories.  The attitude motion of the vehicle and the reentry orbit were estimated and reproduced based on the synthetic evaluation of the flight data such as accelerometer, one-way radar tracking data and the flight simulation. The important designing points are related to the thermal structure, which originate the size of the ablator heatshield. The heatshield needed to satisfy the requirements contradictory to each other concerning to the on-orbit experiment and the reentry flight.  The several ideas were implemented on the REV heatshield for release of the thermal stress. The recovered REV heatshield was scrutinized on the outside aspect and the cross sections. The temperature profiles of portions in the heatshield have been compared between the flight data and the prediction carried out with ablation analysis code. The origins of the several shallow clacks observed on the surface have been investigated taking account of the ablator internal pyrolysis gas pressure during the flight and the allowable stress. Generally, the heatshield has proven to be healthy within the design prediction, and the validity of the designing has been confirmed.
    Abstract document


    Manuscript document

    IAC-05-C2.6.11.pdf (🔒 authorized access only).

    To get the manuscript, please contact IAF Secretariat.