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Heat Transfer Analysis for a Winged Reentry Flight Test Bed

Author(s): Antonio Viviani | Giuseppe Pezzella

Journal: International Journal of Engineering
ISSN 1985-2312

Volume: 3;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 330;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Atmospheric Reentry | Nonequilibirum Hypersonic Flow | Aerothermochemistry | Aeroheating | Thermal Protection System | Ultra High Temperature Ceramics

In this paper we deal with the aero-heating analysis of a reentry flight demonstrator helpfulto the research activities for the design and development of a possible winged ReusableLaunch Vehicle. In fact, to reduce risks in the development of next generation reusablelaunch vehicles, as first step it is suitable to gain deep design knowledge by means ofextensive numerical computations, in particular for the aero-thermal environment thevehicle has to withstand during reentry. The demonstrator under study is a reentry spaceglider, to be used both as Crew Rescue Vehicle and Crew Transfer Vehicle for theInternational Space Station. It is designed to have large atmospheric manoeuvringcapability, to test the whole path from the orbit down to subsonic speeds and then to thelanding on a conventional runway. Several analysis tools are integrated in the frameworkof the vehicle aerothermal design. Between the others, we used computational analyses tosimulate aerothermodynamic flowfield around the spacecraft and heat flux distributionsover the vehicle surfaces for the assessment of the vehicle Thermal Protection Systemdesign. Heat flux distributions, provided for equilibrium conditions of radiation at wall andthermal shield emissivity equal to 0.85, highlight that the vehicle thermal shield has towithstand with about 1500 [kW/m2] and 400 [kW/m2] at nose and wing leading edge,respectively. Therefore, the fast developing new generation of thermal protectionmaterials, such as Ultra High Temperature Ceramics, are available candidate to built thethermal shield in the most solicited vehicle parts. On the other hand, away from spacecraftleading edges, due to the low angle of attack profile followed by the vehicle duringdescent, the heat flux is close to values attainable with conventional heat shield. Also, thepaper shows that the flying test bed is able to validate hypersonic aerothermodynamicdesign database and passenger experiments, including thermal shield and hot structures,giving confidence that a full-scale development can successfully proceed.
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