Minisci, Edmondo and Liqiang, Hou and Vasile, Massimiliano (2010) Multidisciplinary design of a micro-USV for re-entry operations. In: AAS/AIAA Astrodynamic Specialists Conference 2010, 2010-08-02, Toronto.
Unmanned Space Vehicles (USV) are seen as a test-bed for enabling technologies and as a carrier to deliver and return experiments to and from low-Earth orbit. USV's are a potentially interesting solution also for the exploration of other planets or as long-range recognisance vehicles. As test bed, USV's are seen as a stepping stone for the development of future generation re-usable launchers but also as way to test key technologies for re-entry operations. Examples of recent developments are the PRORA-USV, designed by the Italian Aerospace Research Center (CIRA) in collaboration with Gavazzi Space, or the Boeing X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), that is foreseen as an alternative to the space shuttle to deliver experiments into Earth orbit. Among the technologies to be demonstrated with the X-37 are improved thermal protection systems, avionics, the autonomous guidance system, and an advanced airframe
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