Atmos space cargo

February 2024

ATMOS Space Cargo joined a European consortium named ICARUS, led by Elecnor DEIMOS, aiming to develop an inflatable heat shield (IHS) for recovering rocket stages from space.

  • ICARUS (“Inflatable Concept Aeroshell for the Recovery of a re-Usable launcher Stage”) has received a total €15 million worth of EU funding. The project’s timeline is set out for four years with a demonstration test envisioned for 2028.

    Simone Centuori, CEO of Deimos: “This is one of the most innovative projects of the decade encompassing a group of first-rate research organisations and companies. From EFESTO-1 to ICARUS, the development period is covering a total of nine years and €15 million of funding. ICARUS’ is a key technological enabler for Europe, which will revolutionise European re-entry technologies, supporting applications like recovering rocket stages and hypersonic entry on Mars. ICARUS also signifies a great future contribution to space sustainability. With its potential to return launch vehicles and satellites elements safely to Earth, it can become a game changer to the launcher industry.”

    Sebastian Klaus, CEO of Atmos Space Cargo, said: “Inflatable Atmospheric Decelerators are at the cutting edge of re-entry technology, and Atmos Space Cargo has been trusted by DEIMOS and its consortium partners to design and manufacture the inflatable structure. ICARUS aims to become the first flight demonstration of this new technology for the European Union. Supporting this endeavour with our manufacturing and testing expertise is perfectly in line with our vision of returning any type of cargo from space, at any scale.”

    First phase: Finalisation of mission and system design, alongside on-the-ground maturation of key technologies.

    Second phase: flight test aboard a research rocket with a meaningful-scape IHS demonstrator (inflated heat shield with a diameter of approx. 3m) in hypersonic conditions. The full scale version of there IHS could reach a diameter of up to 10m, depending on its specific application.

    Third phase: post-flight analysis of data to understand spacecraft behaviour, to evaluate the performance of on-board technology and to verify the capabilities of the simulation models.

    Members of the consortium:

    German Aerospace Centre (DLR-MORABA and DLR AS-HYP), responsible for flight test, launch campaign execution, and the vehicle’s health monitoring system

    Italian Aerospace Research Centre (CIRA), responsible for the vehicle’s thermal protection system

    French Aerospace Research Centre (ONERA), responsible the vehicle’s aeroshape definition and pre- and post-flight characterisation

    Pangaia Grado Zero (Italy), contributing to the development of innovative health monitoring sensors

    Politecnico di Torino (Italy), responsible for dissemination and communication

    Atmos Space Cargo (Germany), responsible for the inflatable structure

    HDES Service & Engineering (The Netherlands), responsible for the inflation system

    Demcon Advanced Mechatronics (The Netherlands), contributing to the development of innovative health monitoring sensors

    Read to the full press release here:

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