Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, 09:23 a.m.: The MiniIRENE capsule is launched aboard the Maser 15 rocket from Esrange Space Base near Kiruna, Sweden.
According to early reports, the launch was a success, demonstrating the feasibility of an innovative atmospheric reentry technology using a deployable (non-inflatable) umbrella-like heat shield that can simultaneously function as an effective brake.
Mini IRENE separated from the rocket at an altitude of about 82 km and opened its “umbrella” a few seconds later. It continued to rise by inertia touching 260 km and then re-entered the atmosphere with a speed of about Mach 6.
Thanks to its innovative braking system, it slowed down to about 75 km/h and then landed intact without the aid of a parachute.
Lead Tech’s mechanical design and space systems department proudly contributed to the project by designing and building most of Mini IRENE’s structures, mechanisms and thermal protection system.
Mini IRENE Flight Experiment (MIFE) is a project funded by ASI and managed by ESA under a General Support Technology Program (GSTP).
The Italian Center for Aerospace Research (CIRA) is the lead agency that managed the project and carried out the space qualification tests, while Lead Tech, Euro.Soft S.r.l. and SRS Engineering Design Srl are the companies that made the capsule, under the coordination of the ALI Scarl Consortium. The Department of Industrial Engineering of the University of Naples Federico II conducted the mission analysis.