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Numerical Study on the Thermal Loads During a Supersonic Rocket Retropropulsion Maneuver

Ecker, Tobias and Karl, Sebastian and Dumont, Etienne and Stappert, Sven and Krause, Daniel (2019) Numerical Study on the Thermal Loads During a Supersonic Rocket Retropropulsion Maneuver. Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, 57 (1), pp. 131-146. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). doi: 10.2514/1.A34486. ISSN 0022-4650.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.2514/1.A34486


The return and vertical landing of the first launch stage is a concept enabling reusable launch systems and has been successfully applied by SpaceX with the Falcon 9. The Falcon 9 first stage descends by two or three phases of retropropulsion. Especially the supersonic retropropulsion phase, using three of its nine engines, is of interest because it exhibits conditions close to Mars reentry. During retropropulsion, the first stage is partially submerged in the hot exhaust plume. In this study, a generic model based on the Falcon 9’s features and dimensions is used to perform a numerical investigation of the plume–vehicle interaction. Using large-eddy simulation and Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes equations (RANS)-based computational methods, the flowfield is characterized at different trajectory points during retropropulsion. Based on several steady RANS calculations, an aerothermal database is created and coupled into a simple finite element structural heating model of the casing. The results show that, despite the high gas temperatures, the low gas density leads to a manageable heat flux and only a moderate temperature increase on the cylindrical walls when using conventional aluminum materials.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/129626/
Document Type:Article
Title:Numerical Study on the Thermal Loads During a Supersonic Rocket Retropropulsion Maneuver
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Ecker, TobiasUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-7134-1185UNSPECIFIED
Karl, SebastianUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-5558-6673UNSPECIFIED
Dumont, EtienneUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-4618-0572UNSPECIFIED
Stappert, SvenUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-8425-2779UNSPECIFIED
Krause, DanielUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-5315-241XUNSPECIFIED
Date:15 October 2019
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 131-146
EditorsEmailEditor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Publisher:American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
Keywords:Plume, Aerothermal loads, Retro-propulsion
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Transportation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R RP - Space Transportation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Raumfahrzeugsysteme - Systemanalyse Raumtransport (old), R - Projekt X-TRAS (old), R - Reusable Space Systems and Propulsion Technology, R - Raumfahrzeugsysteme - Numerische Verfahren und Simulation (old)
Location: Braunschweig , Bremen , Göttingen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute for Aerodynamics and Flow Technology > Spacecraft, GO
Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems > Structural Mechanics
Institute of Space Systems > Space Launcher Systems Analysis
Institute of Space Systems > Systems Engineering and Project Office
Deposited By: Ecker, Tobias
Deposited On:22 Oct 2019 16:53
Last Modified:22 Nov 2023 07:25

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