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SHARP B1 (left)[NASA]

The SHARP (Slender Hypervelocity Aero-thermodynamic Research Probes) program, a joint effort among NASA, Sandia National Laboratories and the U.S. Air Force, to investigate reentry bodys with sharp leading edges. The SHARP B probes were modified Mk.12 reentry vehicles launched on routine training launches of Minuteman-3 missiles.

The test objectives of the May 1997 SHARP-B1 flight will be to demonstrate the non-ablating performance of the 3D UHTC "sharp" nosetip by performing a ballistic entry through the aerothermal performance constraint, and to correlate ground based sensors with flight sensors to characterize the material performance.  

SHARP-B2, a follow-on flight test to SHARP-B1 successfully flown in 1997, demonstrated the performance of 1-mm radius Ultra-High Temperature Ceramic (UHTC) leading edges at Mach numbers greater than 22 and altitudes greater than 43 km. Four UHTC leading edge strakes were flown on a modified USAF Mk12 reentry vehicle. The launch vehicle was a Minuteman III. A successful mission was flown 28 September 2000. SHARP-B2 impacted the Kwajalein lagoon at the designated target point and was recovered October 1.  

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Reentry technology
Operator: NASA, Sandia National Laboratories and the U.S. Air Force
Equipment: ?
Configuration: Cone (modified Mk.12 reentry vehicle)
Propulsion: ?
Power: Batteries
Orbit: suborbital
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
SHARP B1 N/A 21.05.1997 Va LF-04 * Minuteman-3 with 2 Mk.12
SHARP B2 N/A 28.09.2000 Va LF-09 * Minuteman-3 with 2 Mk.12


  • NASA

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