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A Collaborative Analysis Tool for Integrated Hypersonic Aerodynamics, Thermal Protection Systems, and RBCC Engine Performance for Single Stage to Orbit VehiclesPresented is a computer-based tool that connects several disciplines that are needed in the complex and integrated design of high performance reusable single stage to orbit (SSTO) vehicles. Every system is linked to every other system, as is the case of SSTO vehicles with air breathing propulsion, which is currently being studied by NASA. An RBCC propulsion system integrates airbreathing and rocket propulsion into a single engine assembly enclosed within a cowl or duct. A typical RBCC propulsion system operates as a ducted rocket up to approximately Mach 3. Then there is a transition to a ramjet mode for supersonic-to-hypersonic acceleration. Around Mach 8 the engine transitions to a scramjet mode. During the ramjet and scramjet modes, the integral rockets operate as fuel injectors. Around Mach 10-12 (the actual value depends on vehicle and mission requirements), the inlet is physically closed and the engine transitions to an integral rocket mode for orbit insertion. A common feature of RBCC propelled vehicles is the high degree of integration between the propulsion system and airframe. At high speeds the vehicle forebody is fundamentally part of the engine inlet, providing a compression surface for air flowing into the engine. The compressed air is mixed with fuel and burned. The combusted mixture must be expanded to an area larger than the incoming stream to provide thrust. Since a conventional nozzle would be too large, the entire lower after body of the vehicle is used as an expansion surface. Because of the high external temperatures seen during atmospheric flight, the design of an airbreathing SSTO vehicle requires delicate tradeoffs between engine design, vehicle shape, and thermal protection system (TPS) sizing in order to produce an optimum system in terms of weight (and cost) and maximum performance. To adequately determine the performance of the engine/vehicle, the Hypersonic Flight Inlet Model (HYFIM) module was designed to interface with the RBCC engine model. HYFIM performs the aerodynamic analysis of forebodies and inlet characteristics of RBCC powered SSTO launch vehicles. HYFIM is applicable to the analysis of the ramjet/scramjet engine operations modes (Mach 3-12), and provides estimates of parameters such as air capture area, shock-on-lip Mach number, design Mach number, compression ratio, etc., based on a basic geometry routine for modeling axisymmetric cones, 2-D wedge geometries. HYFIM also estimates the variation of shock layer properties normal to the forebody surface. The thermal protection system (TPS) is directly linked to determination of the vehicle moldline and the shaping of the trajectory. Thermal protection systems to maintain the structural integrity of the vehicle must be able to mitigate the heat transfer to the structure and be lightweight. Herein lies the interdependency, in that as the vehicle's speed increases, the TPS requirements are increased. And as TPS masses increase the effect on the propulsion system and all other systems is compounded. The need to analyze vehicle forebody and engine inlet is critical to be able to design the RBCC vehicle. To adequately determine insulation masses for an RBCC vehicle, the hypersonic aerodynamic environment and aeroheating loads must be calculated and the TPS thicknesses must be calculated for the entire vehicle. To accomplish this an ascent or reentry trajectory is obtained using the computer code Program to Optimize Simulated Trajectories (POST). The trajectory is then used to calculate the convective heat rates on several locations on the vehicles using the Miniature Version of the JA70 Aerodynamic Heating Computer Program (MINIVER). Once the heat rates are defined for each body point on the vehicle, then insulation thicknesses that are required to maintain the vehicle within structural limits are calculated using Systems Improved Numerical Differencing Analyzer (SINDA) models. If the TPS masses are too heavy for the performance of the vehicle the process may be repeated altering the trajectory or some other input to reduce the TPS mass. E-PSURBCC is an "engine performance" model and requires the specification of inlet air static temperature and pressure as well as Mach number (which it pulls from the HYFIM and POST trajectory files), and calculates the corresponding stagnation properties. The engine air flow path geometry includes inlet, a constant area section where the rocket is positioned, a subsonic diffuser, a constant area afterburner, and either a converging nozzle or a converging-diverging nozzle. The current capabilities of E-PSURBCC ejector and ramjet mode treatment indicated that various complex flow phenomena including multiple choking and internal shocks can occur for combinations of geometry/flow conditions. For a given input deck defining geometry/flow conditions, the program first goes through a series of checks to establish whether the input parameters are sound in terms of a solution path. If the vehicle/engine performance fails mission goals, the engineer is able to collaboratively alter the vehicle moldline to change aerodynamics, or trajectory, or some other input to achieve orbit. The problem described is an example of the need for collaborative design and analysis. RECIPE is a cross-platform application capable of hosting a number of engineers and designers across the Internet for distributed and collaborative engineering environments. Such integrated system design environments allow for collaborative team design analysis for performing individual or reduced team studies. To facilitate the larger number of potential runs that may need to be made, RECIPE connects the computer codes that calculate the trajectory data, aerodynamic data based on vehicle geometry, heat rate data, TPS masses, and vehicle and engine performance, so that the output from each tool is easily transferred to the model input files that need it.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Stanley, Thomas Troy (International Space Systems, Inc. Huntsville, AL United States)
Alexander, Reginald (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Landrum, Brian (Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2000
Subject Category
Computer Programming and Software
Meeting Information
Joint Propulsion(Huntsville, AL)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.