ROME (ASI PR) — In 2011, ASI and JAXA started a collaboration for the preliminary study of an innovative spacecraft can be launched into space aboard a carrier and then return to earth on a conventional runway, like an airplane.
At the conclusion of an initial period of about eight months of collaboration during the first week of June, two delegations of JAXA and ASI, assisted by CIRA, met to complete the first phase of this joint work on the feasibility study of the aerodynamic characteristics of the spacecraft.
At the Chofu Aerospace Center, the JAXA center that specializes in atmospheric reentry activities located near Tokyo, the delegations successfully verified the feasibility of a preliminary concept for a winged vehicle configuration, launched in the fairing of the European Vega carrier, and able to get back into the atmosphere with adequate room to maneuver to a landing on a conventional runway.
The Japanese agency JAXA has developed significant experience in the past in this technological field producing some prototypes, called Hope and Hyflex, which have been tested in flight in the atmosphere.
The study vehicle is designed to have a cargo bay to house experiments and instruments for the execution of multipurpose missions. It is expected to be used to demonstrate highly innovative technology with significant potential impact on future orbital and suborbital aerospace transportation systems. The teams also established guidelines for the development of the entire project through the completion of the prototype and a suborbital demonstration mission, which will be submitted shortly to the respective presidents of the two agencies.