Tech

May 14, 2012

NASA’s Marshall Center completes wind tunnel testing for Dream Chaser® space system

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., successfully completed wind tunnel testing for Sierra Nevada Corp. Space Systems of Louisville, Colo. The test will provide aerodynamic data that will aid in the design of the new Dream Chaser® Space System.

During tests at Marshall’s wind tunnel facility, a scale model of SNC’s Dream Chaser orbital crew vehicle was mounted on a scale model of the United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V launch vehicle.

More than 400 data runs were performed at subsonic, transonic and supersonic speeds to study the effects of how air moves past the model. Nine full-stack configurations were tested over a Mach range of .4, or 304 miles per hour at sea level, to Mach 5, or 3,800 miles per hour at sea level, at various launch vehicle roll angles.

The data generated from this test series, coupled with data from computational fluid dynamics studies, will define the aerodynamic characteristics of the Dream Chaser – Atlas V launch stack during the ascent phase of flight. Obtaining this data will enable higher-fidelity loads analysis, better definition of launch vehicle performance, and will aid in further refining Dream Chaser’s trajectory design for orbital vehicle launches.

“We’re glad Marshall could support SNC in completing these wind tunnel tests quickly and affordably and early in the design phase,” said Teresa Vanhooser, manager of the Flight Programs and Partnerships Office at Marshall. “Our trisonic wind tunnel and engineering staff helps partners understand the aerodynamic integrity and stability of spacecraft and launch vehicles, like the Dream Chaser, over a variety of wind speeds and phases of flight.”

Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC’s Space Systems, said: “The Dream Chaser Program is grateful for the opportunity to leverage the experience, expertise, and resources of Marshall, made possible by the unique government-commercial partnership created through NASA’s Commercial Crew Development Program. Sierra Nevada Corporation looks forward to expanding our successful relationship with Marshall, as well as creating new business opportunities in the Huntsville area.”

Marshall’s Aerodynamic Research Facility’s 14-inch trisonic wind tunnel is an intermittent, blow-down tunnel that operates from high-pressure storage to either vacuum or atmospheric exhaust. The facility is capable of conducting tests in the subsonic, transonic and supersonic mach ranges using its two interchangeable test sections. Subsonic Mach numbers are below Mach 1, the speed of sound, or 760 miles per hour at sea level, while transonic speeds approach and are slightly above Mach 1. The facility can achieve a maximum supersonic Mach number of 5, or five times the speed of sound.

SNC is currently one of the NASA Commercial Crew Development partners awarded funding under a Space Act Agreement to mature their Dream Chaser orbital crew transportation system. NASA’s CCDev effort is being led by NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and supported by NASA technical experts across the agency, including the Marshall Center for a variety of technical areas.

The effort to define the aerodynamic characteristics of the Dream Chaser Space System is being conducted under a reimbursable Space Act Agreement funded by SNC and executed with the support of aerodynamicists and wind tunnel experts from the Marshall Center and United Launch Alliance.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
onr-locust

LOCUST: Autonomous, swarming UAVs fly into the future

A new era in autonomy and unmanned systems for naval operations is on the horizon, as officials at the Office of Naval Research announced April 14 recent technology demonstrations of swarming unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) ...
 
 
NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich

Second X-56A MUTT makes first flight

NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich NASA researchers are using the X-56A, a low-cost, modular, remotely piloted aerial vehicle, to explore the behavior of lightweight, flexible aircraft structures. Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong ...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Schaefer takes command of 412th Test Wing

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Maj. Gen. Arnold Bunch Jr., Air Force Test Center commander (left), presents the 412th Test Wing guidon to Brig. Gen. Carl Schaefer signifying the beginning of his new command at the 412th ...
 

 

NASA creates partnership to advance composite materials for aircraft of future

NASA has established a public-private partnership with five organizations to advance knowledge about composite materials that could improve the performance of future aircraft. Composites are innovative new materials for building aircraft that can enhance strength while remaining lightweight. The agency selected the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Va., to manage administration of the...
 
 

NASA awards IT contracts to 118 small, disadvantaged businesses

NASA has awarded 118 contracts to small, disadvantaged businesses under Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP V), a multi-award Government-Wide Acquisition Contract vehicle focused on information technology products and product-based services. Of these SEWP V contracts, 14 were awarded to businesses operating in historically underutilized business zones, 25 contracts were awarded to b...
 
 
NASA photograph

Educators gain lunar, meteorite certification

NASA photograph Teachers learning about a volcanism activity known as Lava Layering using baking soda and vinegar to simulate a volcanic eruption. A Lunar and Meteorite Disk Certification educator workshop was held at the NASA ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>