Technology applications beyond NASA include the Theater and National Missile Defense vehicles performing exo-atmospheric missile intercepts, and missile warhead re-entry applications. The computational tool will also be relevant to the joint DOD/NASA effort called the National Aerospace Initiative (NAI) that involves, among other things, the development of air-breathing hypersonic vehicles. OEMs will also find the tool useful in exploring and designing newer and more robust ablative TPS materials and heat shield systems. The models developed in this SBIR project can also be ported to commercial CFD software such as ATAC, Fluent, CFD-ACE+ and CFD-FASTRAN.
Future NASA missions will be more demanding and will require better performing ablative TPS than currently available. The proposed SBIR project will result in a computational tool with unique, comprehensive, and accurate predictive capabilities for ablative TPS performance in hypersonic, non-equilibrium atmospheric entry flows. The tool will find direct application in NASA technology development programs such as the In-Space Propulsion Technology Program, and also in NASA's Fundamental Aeronautics Hypersonics (FAH) Project that aims to develop methods, tools and data that enable emergence of highly reliable and efficient hypersonic systems. The tool can also be used to aid in the design and development of next-generation planetary vehicles (such as the Crew Exploration Vehicle, Mars Aerocapture and Mars Sample Return spacecraft) and components of future hypersonic vehicles. The various models comprising the tool will be implemented in an extensible and modular framework that can be ported to other NASA codes (e.g. DPLR) with relative ease.