The REBR team at The Aerospace Corp. have informed us that, for reasons unknown, no data were received from the REBR on board ATV-2 during its reentry on 21 June. They will now conduct a study to identify possible causes.
As we reported in our earlier blog post, the REBR is a basic, 'blue-sky' research tool that aims to gather data during atmospheric reentries. Operating in this harsh and extremely dynamic environment, an REBR failure could have been generated by a variety of causes. Identifying this/these is a valid and even vital element in the scientific process and may offer valuable lessons for the future.
The REBR flew on board ATV-2 as a 'piggyback' device that, success or failure, had no effect on ATV's controlled reentry, which successfully concluded shortly after 20:41 UT on 21 June 2011. If requested, ESA's ATV team will be pleased to assist the REBR researchers to every extent possible in their failure study. It should be noted that the first REBER was onboard Japan's HTV2 cargo vessel when it reentered in March 2011 and operated as expected, providing data on the breakup of that vehicle.
For Dr Bill Ailor and the REBR team, best wishes with future research!