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Advanced Reentry Aeroheating Simulation Framework, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Vehicle reentry presents numerous challenges that must be carefully addressed to ensure the success of current and future space exploration missions. As they enter the atmosphere, these vehicles are subjected to extreme hypersonic environments typified by large structural loads, high heat fluxes and temperatures, and an aggressive aerothermal environment where nonequilibrium dissociated gases may cause chemical ablation at the vehicle's surface. These hypersonic flows involve highly nonlinear fluid-thermal interactions such as very strong shocks, high aeroheating, and shock boundary layer interactions. The extreme environments result in nonlinear, coupled interactions between the vehicle's structure and the environment. Traditionally, designs of reentry vehicles and their components have been analyzed by different engineering disciplines in an uncoupled manner, leading to a simplified superposition of different independent analyses. Depending on the assumptions, this can potentially lead to overconservatism or omission of multiphysics phenomena such as the deformation of structural skin panels which alters the local flow field and results in higher aerodynamic and heat loading. To alleviate these problems, ATA Engineering proposes to develop an innovative approach utilizing an existing multiphysics framework that enables a more complete simulation of the aeroheating environment throughout the flight trajectory in the continuum regime is proposed. In Phase I, we will demonstrate feasibility of solving these problems in ATA's multiphysics simulation environment by coupling CHAR (a 3D, implicit charring ablator solver), Loci/CHEM (a computational fluid dynamics solver for highspeed chemically reacting flows), and Abaqus (a commercial nonlinear structural dynamics package) to create a fully coupled aerothermoelastic charring ablative solver. Phase II will involve enhancements to enable full trajectory simulation and tool validation with experimental data. More »

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