The ablative material was much thinner than the sub-scale fiberglass melamine heatshield.
Once the feasibility of ablative material had been experimentally determined, flight testing of sub-scale reentry vehicles began.
The RTV's were biconic-spheres 34 inches long and a base 38 inches in diameter, weighing 620 pounds and (Figure 15) fabricated with ablative material and flown from Cape Canaveral from April 23, 1958 to July 23, 1958.
By mid-1960 Atlas D missiles were available for use in the final phase of ablative material testing, flights of full-scale reentry vehicles at operational ranges and reentry speeds.
Three General Electric RVX-2 reentry vehicles were flown to test a new type of ablative material, unrein-forced phenolic resin, General Electric Series 100, for the proposed Titan II Mark 6 reentry vehicle.
Extensive wind tunnel and light gas gun evaluation of ablative material composition and thickness as well as studies of attitude control and structural design to withstand deceleration forces of twenty to fifty G's were undertaken.
Virtually indistinguishable in outer appearance, the Mark 11 series were approximately 100 inches in height, with cylindrical section nineteen inches in diameter, a base diameter of thirty-two inches and all used the same ablative material.
The improvements made in the representation of an ablative material will be validated against the ground testing, and this advanced ablator model will be applied to realistic flight configurations to demonstrate the impact of the enhanced physics on the understanding of real ablator performance.
The existence of this capability will allow improvements in the efficiency and cost of developing advanced new ablative materials which are tailored to meet the specifications of Europes future mission needs.