Testing Penetrators at Pendine Sands

12 July 2013

Test penetrator attached to rocket sled

On 11th July a team of scientists and engineers led by Astrium UK and including MSSL/UCL, Qinetiq and the Open University conducted a high velocity penetrator trial at Pendine Sands in South Wales. The test item was fired into a ice target at ~340 m/s. The test is part of a more extensive programme that is funded by European Space Agency which follows an earlier successful set of trials related to future lunar exploration. In this test the important and novel thermal isolation was demonstrated which is essential for any future planetary mission since target sites on the Moon, Mars and the Jovian moons are extremely cold while the inner instrumentation within  the penetrator must remain near room temperature.

Alan Smith, Director of MSSL, said 'this is a very important next step in the development of this novel technology and shows UK science and engineering at its finest'.

Page last modified on 12 jul 13 08:30