European Shock-Tube for High Enthalpy Research

Reports from the research team

European Shock-Tube for High Enthalpy Research - Reports from the research team


The ESTHER hosting laboratory is at last ready! Only some minor works remain to be done, such as the painting of the technical floor panels, as well as the testing of the electrical and ventilation equipments,

Please join us in a little walktrough on the building interior, before it is filled with the corresponding scientific equipment!

Dump Tank and Gas Bottles rooms

Door to the Experimental Hall

Experimental Hall view (1/2)

Experimental Hall view (2/2)

Technical Room view (1/2)

Technical Room view (2/2)

Bathroom view

Preparation Room view (1/2)

Preparation Room view (2/2)

Control Room view (1/2)

Control Room view (2/2)

Meeting Room view

Entry Corridor view (1/2)

Entry Corridor view (2/2)

Main Building Entry

View of the Building Rooftop

Almost ready!

The hosting building is almost ready! Now is time for setting up the general equipments of the building, and namely its electricity lines and ventilation subsystems.

Once this detail work is over, several tests will then be carried out, after which the building will be considered as fully ready.

Building front view

Setting up of the electrical lines

Building ceiling cover

Mars Science Laboratory scheduled to enter Mars Atmosphere in a few hours

The NASA spacecraft Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is fast approaching Planet Mars. If everything goes according to plan, the spacecraft will successfully enter Mars atmosphere and deploy the nearly 1Tonne rover Curiosity in the surface of the Gale Crater.

With a 4.5m diameter and a nearly 4Tonne Weight, Mars Science Laboratory is the largest spacecraft ever to enter Mars atmosphere, at an initial speed of 5.8km/s.

As with the past NASA PHOENIX mission, the ESA Mars EXPRESS spacecraft, currently orbiting planet Mars, will track the MSL spacecraft entry. However, unlike PHOENIX, Mars EXPRESS will be too far apart from the MSL entry point to properly track any optical entry signal. It will nevertheless track the radio signal of MSL up to the landing phase.

The ESTHER team expresses its best wishes of success to this unprecedented mission. In the upcoming decades, Planet Mars will be an important target for international scientific exploration, and the ESTHER Shock-Tube is expected to provide added insight on the physical-chemical processes in Martian-type CO2-N2 shocked flows.

Artist view of the MSL atmospheric entry

Artist view of the MSL atmospheric entry (source: NASA)

Artist view of Curiosity's "Sky Crane" manoeuver

Artist view of Curiosity’s “Sky Crane” manouever (source: NASA)

Inspection of the Bombe equipment at Setofresa

The work on the small experimental combustion chamber, for the development of the future ESTHER ignition system, has been completed by Setofresa.

The bombe has been manufactured in a low-carbon stainless steel with a very good tolerance to corrosion, and namely low propensity to hydrogen damage, either hydrogen embrittlement or steel de-carburization. Such properties are critical for our applications, since an average of 2-4 daily firings of He/H2/O2 mixtures will be carried out int he future combustion chamber of the ESTHER shock-tube.

The selected steel also has very high yield strengths (Rmax>700MPa and R0.2%>500MPa) making it tolerant to shocks (which might result from accidental detonations in the combustion chamber), but also more difficult to machine (requiring an increased number of passes when compared to more standard steels).

Despite these technical difficulties, a very nice combustion chamber has been manufactured, and the inspection report confirmed the overall quality of the performed work.

Now we only have to wait for the hosting building to achieve operational status (namely after the installation of an overhead crane in the experimental hall), and another big step of the project will begin, with the first onsite ignition tests!

Bombe parts during the inspection

View of the “bombe” with one of the caps on (1/2)

View of the “bombe” with one of the caps on (2/2)