Magnetohydro­dynamic Enhanced Entry System for Space Transportation


About the Project

Re-entry represents one of the most critical phases of space missions, subjecting spacecraft to high temperatures and disrupting their communications. The Horizon 2020 - FET-OPEN Project: MEESST aims at filling the gap between research and application, towards the development of a first-of-its-kind demonstrator implementing active magnetic shielding. This new technology can supply the magnetic fields needed to mitigate heat flux and radio communications blackout during spacecraft re-entry.


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Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) describes the interaction between electromagnetic fields and electrically conductive fluids such as plasmas. The laws of MHD govern how the charged particles in the plasma are deflected and redistributed by the electromagnetic field.


Superconductivity is the characteristic of a material having zero electrical resistance. This allows superconductors to conduct huge quantities of electricity in very small and lightweight cables. Superconductors can generate much stronger magnetic fields than conventional conductors.


When a fast-moving spacecraft encounters a plasma in the atmosphere, a boundary layer is formed. The sudden deceleration of the plasma causes its temperature to rise drastically, heating the spacecraft. The presence of a magnetic field moves this boundary layer away from the spacecraft surface, significantly reducing the heat load on the spacecraft.