Purpose of the flight and payload description
This program was developed as a series of flight experiments for the research of the HOPE-X Reusable Launch Vehicle intended to be a future space shuttle.
The phase II, involved the droptest of a scale model of the vehicle from a stratospheric balloon.
The vehicle for this Phase of the project whose diagram can be seen at left (click to enlarge) was a model with a length of 3.8 mts, a height of 1.2 mts, a wing span of near 2.4 mts and a mass of 500 kgs, corresponding to a 25% completed scaled model of the future HOPE-X space plane. The devices on the surface such as antennas were designed not to affect aerodynamic characteristics of the vehicle.
It have generally the same components as those of the vehicle used in Phase I except the jet engine and the landing gears wich were replaced by a parachute system to recover the vehicle, and by airbags to absorb a shock at touch down, respectivelly. In addition, about 30 pressure sensors are installed on the surface of the fuselage and the base plane to acquire aerodynamic data during the flight at a transonic speed to clarify the transonic aerodynamic characteristics of a winged reentry vehicle configuration.
Also during the test it will obtain data to validate wind tunnel test and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) predictions and as a secondary objective to validate guidance & control system design technology for the transonic speed region.
Details of the balloon flight
Balloon launched on: 8/31/2001
Launch site: European Space Range, Kiruna, Sweden
Balloon launched by: Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 8/31/2001
Landing site: No launch
Campaign: HSFD Mock-up
No launch. Was only a inflation and hanging test of the payload.
The experience consisted in testing the hanging and release techniques as a rehearsal of the first drop test of the model in August 2003 from a stratospheric balloon at 30 kms.