MEESST
Cooling of superconducting magnets on space vehicles

MEESST

Refrigeration of superconducing
magnet for a space
vehicle demonstrator

Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) system for controlling plasma on the surface of atmospheric re-entry spacecraft.

When a spacecraft enters the atmosphere at very high speed on Earth or elsewhere, the entry environment produces extremely high thermal loads of the order of MW/m2 on the surface of the spacecraft. This is one of the most critical phases of space missions.

Partially ionized gases then form a plasma envelope around the spacecraft, preventing the passage of radio-frequency signals and leading to a communications failure lasting an average of 5 minutes.

MEESST

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MEESST

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A solution based on the principles of magnetohydrodynamics

Based on an international consortium of universities, SMEs, research institutes and industry, the MEESST (MHD Enhanced Entry System for Space Transportation) project addresses the problems of entry into the atmosphere of a spacecraft by proposing an applicative solution based on the principles of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). This technique allows influencing the dynamics of the plasma surrounding the spacecraft.

This new technology aims at :

The MEESST principle will be validated experimentally and numerically by tests carried out at the Von Karman Institute (VKI, Belgium), for radio communication tests, and at the Institute for Space Systems (IRS, Germany), for thermal tests.

The aim is to significantly improve numerical prediction capabilities, thermal load mitigation and communication cut-off phenomena. Numerical simulations are based on new ray-tracing methods and improved plasma models, incorporating the impact of the magnetic field generated by the magnet.

These experimental and modeling efforts will also serve other applications such as radar imaging, surveillance and GPS navigation.

The MEESST project brings together 11 partners:

MEESST

produits_ligne_10

A solution based on the principles of magnetohydrodynamics

Based on an international consortium of universities, SMEs, research institutes and industry, the MEESST (MHD Enhanced Entry System for Space Transportation) project addresses the problems of entry into the atmosphere of a spacecraft by proposing an applicative solution based on the principles of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). This technique allows influencing the dynamics of the plasma surrounding the spacecraft.

This new technology aims at:

Meesst

The MEESST principle will be validated experimentally and numerically by tests carried out at the Von Karman Institute (VKI, Belgium), for radio communication tests, and at the Institute for Space Systems (IRS, Germany), for thermal tests.

The aim is to significantly improve numerical prediction capabilities, thermal load mitigation and communication cut-off phenomena. Numerical simulations are based on new ray-tracing methods and improved plasma models, incorporating the impact of the magnetic field generated by the magnet.

These experimental and modeling efforts will also serve other applications such as radar imaging, surveillance and GPS navigation.

The MEESST project brings together 11 partners:

Absolut System, a key partner providing
cryogenic expertise

Absolut System, a key partner providing cryogenic expertise

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As a partner in the MEESST project, Absolut System manufactures and supplies the cooling system, based on a cryogenic circulation loop.

This system is used to cool the superconducting magnet, which is maintained at 30K to generate a magnetic field capable of repelling the plasma. Absolut System is also responsible for integrating the magnet into the cryostat.

The aim is to develop a prototype to demonstrate MEESST’s ability to :

This prototype, inserted into the IRS plasma chambers for thermal measurements and the VKI plasma chamber for radio communication measurements, is designed to simulate the re-entry of space vehicles into the atmosphere.

Funded by the European Commission via Horizon 2020’s Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) program, it aims to make the transition to more reusable and cost-effective input systems. Already well advanced in the preliminary research and design phase, the project will come to an end in March 2024.