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Deimos-Led Consortium Receive EU Funding for ICARUS

ICARUS Credit: Deimos
Credit: Deimos

Ibadan, 11 June 2024. – A European consortium, led by Spanish mission and system integrator Elecnor Deimos (Deimos), has received €15 million in funding from the European Union to develop an inflatable heat shield to recover rocket stages from space and prepare for Mars missions.

In addition to Deimos, other partners and affiliations include the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Italian Aerospace Research Center (CIRA), the French Aerospace Research Center (ONERA), Pangaia Grado Zero, Politecnico di Torino, Atmos Space Cargo, HDES Service & Engineering, and Demcon Advanced Mechatronics.

ICARUS (“Inflatable Concept Aeroshell for the Recovery of a re-Usable launcher Stage”) received €10 million worth of funding from the European Commission (EC) under the Horizon Europe program. Furthermore, it is a follow-on project to EFESTO-1 (€3 million) and EFESTO-2 (€2 million).

ICARUS comprises three phases. During the first phase, the consortium will complete the mission and system design along with on-the-ground maturation of key technologies. Likewise, during the second phase, it will carry out a flight test on board a sounding rocket with a meaningful-scale demonstrator of an IHS in hypersonic conditions. Depending on the application, a commercial full-scale version could have a diameter of 10m diameter when inflated.

The third phase consists of the post-flight analysis of data and information the consortium collects during the mission. This will consequently allow engineers to understand the behaviour of the spacecraft, evaluate the performance of the technologies on board it, and verify the capabilities of the simulation models to predict both.

Inflatable heat shields could be a new way to decelerate and protect various space systems during re-entry and descent. As a result, they could be ideal for the expansion of commercial space transportation technologies and services aiming to recover and reuse launcher stages and other space cargo.

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