NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 S1.02-9168
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Deep Space Propulsion
PROPOSAL TITLE: Aeroelastic Simulation Tool for Inflatable Ballute Aerocapture

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
CFD Research Corp
215 Wynn Dr.
Huntsville, AL 35805-1926

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Peter A. Liever
215 Wynn Dr.
Huntsville, AL 35805-1926

This project will develop a much-needed multidisciplinary analysis tool for predicting the impact of aeroelastic effects on the functionality of inflatable aeroassist vehicles. High-fidelity computational modules for fluid dynamics, heat transfer, structural dynamics, and dynamic motion will be coupled into a multidisciplinary computing environment. The multi-disciplinary system has been successfully applied for aeroelastic and dynamic simulations of fighter aircraft, hypersonic vehicles and planetary probes. The application range will be extended to the rarefied regime through integration of an existing NASA DSMC flow solver.

In Phase I, continuum flow regime sample analyses will be performed for a trailing ballute configuration to demonstrate the capabilities of the software environment. Simulations will demonstrate the insight gained into the aerodynamic, material stress and localized heating effects from various levels of simulation fidelity: steady and unsteady flow, rigid or flexible structure, and static or dynamically moving vehicles. The feasibility of implementing the DSMC flow solver in the multidisciplinary simulation framework will be demonstrated for the case of a steady-state shape deformation prediction. Phase II efforts will focus on fully implementing the DSMC code and other NASA codes in the multidisciplinary environment. Extensive verification and validation studies will be performed, leveraging planned aeroelastic ballute windtunnel tests.

The proposed simulation technology will find direct and immediate applications with NASA and industry in ongoing aerocapture technology development programs. It provides significant capability advances in crucial areas of aeroassist vehicle development: 1) definition and screening of ballute configurations in the concept phase, and 2) verification of aeroassist system functionality across the flight envelope. Inflatable decelerator technology may find a multitude of applications under Project Constellation for providing deceleration and precision landing capability for cargo delivery to Mars outposts or in returning large amounts of down-mass from Earth orbit.

Additional application areas include analysis of space-based inflatable structures such as telescopes and mirrors, satellite solar panels and military reentry vehicles (inflatable decoys, etc) exposed to the atmosphere. The aeroelastic analysis of parachutes and parafoils and the analysis of high-altitude endurance airplanes with flexible wings will be improved. Further military applications include stabilization and deceleration of ordnance with attached inflatable decelerators.