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Recent Langley Aerothermodynamic Laboratory Testing (2019-2022)In support of flight programs, multiple wind tunnel entries were conducted on reentry vehicle configurations to investigate blunt body aeroheating environments. Blunt body block thermal protection system (TPS) roughness, the Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator aeroshell scalloping, and a woven TPS all were tested to determine the effects of those parameters on increased surface heating to the vehicle. Commercial Crew Program studies also utilized the speed and ease of testing in the LAL to analyze parametric databases of low-earth reentry configurations, like the Boeing CST-100, and vehicles designed to travel to the moon or Mars, such as the SpaceX Starship.

LAL wind tunnel investigations also supported several DoD and AFRL flight projects, such as HIFiRE 6 and BOLT. External customers leveraged the LAL testing capability to advance their research programs, including UPSTAR, RocketLab, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Academia groups benefitted from the inexpensive cost to test in the tunnels for many university collaborations, such as studies conducted in partnership with the University of Maryland on a flat plate, using a pressure rake and investigating fluid structure interactions. Multiple studies in collaboration with Purdue considered boundary layer transition on various cone configurations. Another study was conducted using a cone with shaped roughness elements borrowed from the Arnold Engineering Development Complex.

Internal testing included studies using a phosphor thermography system that can measure higher temperatures than the current LAL phosphor capability and a characterization study of the noise in the wind tunnel flow. The breadth of testing across research and commercial paradigms, both internal and external to NASA, different configurations, a variety of test techniques and aerodynamic and aerothermal environments will be discussed in this overview presentation of the recent work conducted in the LAL.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Langley Research Center
Document Type
Michelle Mason
(Langley Research Center Hampton, Virginia, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2022
Subject Category
Fluid Mechanics And Thermodynamics
Meeting Information
Meeting: Thermal and Fluids Analysis Workshop 2022
Location: Hampton, VA
Country: US
Start Date: September 6, 2022
End Date: September 9, 2022
Sponsors: Langley Research Center
Funding Number(s)
WBS: 725017.
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
Technical Review
NASA Peer Committee
wind tunnel test
aerodynamic force and moment
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