The methods and embodying software that will be developed under this project will provide unprecedented accuracy in predicting aeroacoustic loading and vibration response for any spacecraft or launch vehicle during ascent. One of the most noteworthy and immediate opportunities for infusion of this technology is in the design of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS), an advanced heavy-lift launch vehicle being developed. The SLS will deliver the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle to space and will be involved in a number of commercial and International Space Station missions. The technologies proposed do not carry much risk and provide an opportunity early in the development process to make design decisions that can result in significant increases in affordability, reliability, and performance. Additionally, the design of systems and components aboard more near-term NASA spaceflight missions will benefit from the improved predictive capability, with specific examples including the proposed series of Commercial Crew and Cargo Program (C3PO) launches and prospective extraterrestrial missions such as Mars 2020. The proposed technology directly addresses the high-priority challenge for "analytical capabilities that go far beyond existing modeling and simulation capabilities and reduce use of empirical approaches in vehicle design" identified in NASA's Space Technology Roadmap for Technology Area 11: Modeling, Simulation, Information Technology, & Processing.
As the aerospace industry adapts to the retirement of the Space Shuttle, it stands poised at the beginning of a new era of space exploration and commercial space activities. Numerous private sector companies are developing the next generation of commercial launch vehicles, space station resupply services, and spacecraft for the suborbital space tourism market. A common theme for these new systems is that they feature innovative designs that make a marked departure from the legacy spaceflight and rocket systems employed in the last half decade of orbital launches. New concepts such as Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip Two spaceplane and SpaceX's nine-engine Falcon 9 rocket provide a host of new vibroacoustic scenarios that must be understood and addressed as part of certifying payload survivability or human passenger safety. By enabling more accurate prediction of the vibroacoustic response of these systems, the methods developed in this project will contribute to the design of more efficient and reliable systems while reducing the mission risk from unaccounted aeroacoustic loads. ATA will make this technology available to industry by offering engineering consulting services and specialized software.