TsAGI conducts joint test with French and Russian partners
12 July 2018
For more than 60 years people have been firing objects into space. Space debris, accumulated during this time, is steadily increasing and constitutes an ever-greater threat. There are frequent reports of falling man-made objects to the Earth. Russian scientists have to correct the ISS orbit due to a possible collision with space rubbish, experts warn of an increased chance of incidents where satellites may be damaged. The danger makes the world community take measures to prevent further littering the space around our planet.
This issue is one of the key objectives of the French National Space Agency (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, CNES). Its representative, together with scientists from the Institute of chemical physics by N.N. Semenov of the Russian Academy of Sciences, visited the The Zhukovsky Central AeroHydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI ) in the middle of June.
The meeting was held under the TsAGI-CNES contract “Optimization of thermite capsules for the destruction of the satellite construction elements during low Earth deorbiting.” Folowing the terms of the contract, representatives of the three organizations have prepared and tested models in TsAGI hypersonic wind tunnels. “Our Institute solves multiple tasks in this project,” explaind Sergey Drozdov, TsAGI’s High-Speed Aircraft Aerothermodynamics Department, and D.Sc. in Physics & Mathematics. “We design and produce models of capsules, equip them with measurement means, carry out pilot studies in wind tunnels and prepare reports on the results. The launches have successfully confirmed our French colleagues’ calculations.”
One of CNES’s priorities is safety of space operations with the participation of France. For this purpose French scientists have created a software package for numerical modeling of re-entry options of high-drag bodies: satellites fragments and meteorites. The purpose of the TsAGI contract is to simulate experimentally the processes of destruction of schematized spacecraft construction elements in a wind tunnel at hypersonic speeds. The research will help CNES develop for space a debris recycling technology and to prevent debris falling on the ground.