Investigation of aerothermodynamics of the advanced hypersonic reentry vehicles

Mathematics. Physics. Mechanics


Myint Z. M.*, Khlopkov A. Y.**

Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, 9, Institutskiy per., Dolgoprudny, Moscow region, 141701, Russia



Investigation of aerothermodynamics in space is a key technology for the design and optimization of space vehicles since it provides the necessary databases for the choice of trajectory, guidance, navigation and control, as well as for thermal protection and propulsion systems. The purpose of this work is to provide a method for calculation of aerothermodynamic characteristics during the flight in rarefied, transitional and continuum regimes, which could be used for rapid engineering calculations at early stages of reentry vehicle design.
Space vehicle design basically depends on databases, which provide the forces, moments, temperatures and heat fluxes along the chosen trajectories. The particle-based Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) method may be used for the rarefied flows, and Navier-Stokes equations may be solved by using algorithms from Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for the continuum regime. Thus aerothermodynamic characteristics of the high-speed rarefied gas flow are obtained by using the DSMC method on the basis of three different gas-surface interaction models — Maxwell, Cercignani-Lampis-Lord (CLL) and Lennard-Jones (LJ). The local-bridging method is used in transitional regime.
The paper presents the results of aerothermodynamic characteristics calculations for reentry vehicle with the use of DSMC method. Results show that the values of heat transfer coefficients are sensitive to application of various gas-surface interaction models. Also results of calculation of heat transfer coefficient on sphere in transitional regime by using local-bridging method are described. Comparison of the calculation results for the spherical body in transitional regime with experimental data has shown that the modeling results are correct and the calculation error is below 5%.
The DSMC method was used during the analysis of aerothermodynamic characteristics of reentry vehicle in free molecular flow to circumvent the complexity of solving the whole Boltzmann integro-differential equation. As the flow changes from rarefied to continuum regime, the DSMC method requires many more simulated molecules, larger computer memory and longer CPU runtimes. Thus local-bridging method is used to rapidly obtain aerothermodynamic characteristics for this transitional regime.
The paper shows that it is possible to study the aerothermodynamic characteristics of the space vehicle at altitudes from 120 to 60 km by the use of local bridging method. Presented methods and results may be useful for the design of the thermal protection systems of modern and advanced reentry vehicles and construction of their de-orbiting trajectories.


aerothermodynamic characteristics, high-altitude aerodynamics, heat flux in transitional flow, local bridging method


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