The German SHarp Edge Flight EXperiment has used some sounding rockets to test aerodynamic control surfaces during hypersonic reentry. The nose consists of thin ceramic plates bolted to aluminum with insulation between. Liquid nitrogen was circulated through the insulation layer for cooling.

Since this is the only other current development of an active reentry heat shield that I know of, I wonder if any of their data is relevant to the Starship and if they are talking to each other about it.

  • $\begingroup$ Here are some links about SHEFEX: 1, 2, 3, 4. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Mar 17 '19 at 19:20

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