April 18, 2011

The second drop test was performed on May 16 at 05:35:12 UTC. The first drop body was dropped at an altitude of 26.6 km and the second drop body at approximately 27 km.

The first drop test was successfully performed on May 7 at 05.17 local time.

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JAXA is conducting research for the next generations of aircraft. Their goal is to design a silent supersonic transportation system that is economically viable and eco friendly for travels in the 21st century.

The D-SEND#1 project demonstrates a reduced sonic boom for aircraft with a non-conventional shape by releasing drop models from a high altitude (20-30 km) so that they reach supersonic speeds and produce sonic booms. The drop models include electronics that measure their motion, while a microphone system a lower altitude (0-1 km) records the sonic booms.

SSC developed the gondola with drop models to JAXA:s specifications, as well as remaining support systems except for recording system.

SSC also conducted the two drop tests. Each gondola released two drop models in quick succession, thus making SSC the first to drop such heavy objects from a single balloon in sequence.

Description of the mission

The purpose of the campaign is to compare the sonic boom wave between a normally shaped drop body and a dropping body which have a shape which will produce less sound when traveling supersonic.

There will be four measuring stations within the impact area of Esrange Space Center. Each station will have an aerostat at an altitude of one kilometer. Microphones are attached to a line from the aerostat down to the ground.

In the D-SEND-1 drop test, two different axisymmetric bodies are dropped and the sonic booms are measured and compared with each other. This project will be followed by the D-SEND#2-project, where an experimental supersonic airplane model (unmanned aircraft with no engine and capable of autonomous flight) is dropped and the sonic boom is measured.

General information D-SEND-1

Launch site Esrange Space Center
Launch date April – May 2011
Mass/kg 3 ton
Balloon size 311 500 m³ (11 M ft³)
Height ~30 km

Contact persons

Mr. Mikael Toyra, Project manager SSC, mikael.toyra@sscspace.com
Dr.Kenji Yoshida, Project manager JAXA, yoshida.kenji@jaxa.j

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