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A Full-Scale Simulation and Analysis of Formation Flight during In-Air Capturing

Singh, Sunayna and Stappert, Sven and Bussler, Leonid and Sippel, Martin and Kucukosman, Yakut Cansev and Buckingham, Sophia (2021) A Full-Scale Simulation and Analysis of Formation Flight during In-Air Capturing. In: Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC. 72nd International Astronautical Congress (IAC), 2021-10-25 - 2021-10-29, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. ISSN 0074-1795.

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Official URL: https://iafastro.directory/iac/browse/IAC-21/D2/5/


In the past two decades, the renewed interest in sustainable space transportation has fueled the development of many innovative reusable launch technologies. One such concept called ‘In-Air-Capturing (IAC)’ involves winged rocket stages captured mid-air and towed back to the launch site using an aircraft. The approach patented by German Aerospace Center (DLR), shows potential for substantial mass and cost reduction by eliminating the need for additional propulsion during the descent. A critical aspect of IAC requires the two involved vehicles to be in a formation flight with similar velocities, altitudes and flight path angles separated by a safe distance. The preliminary requirement is to maintain the formation for a minimum of 60 s, despite any external disturbances. This paper presents the modelling and simulation of a full-scale reusable launch vehicle and a towing aircraft attempting the formation flight for IAC. First, a suitable aircraft configuration is selected based on the aerodynamic performance of the selected test rocket stage. Important subsystems are also identified and modelled comprehensively. Then, trajectory simulations are performed to identify the best approach and initial conditions for the formation. Sensitivity of the formation flight to several factors like the idle thrust, wake turbulence and wind gusts are also analysed. The simulation yielded that the minimum duration of formation flight could be maintained, despite the external disturbances. Lastly, potential improvements and future simulations are discussed

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/145071/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:A Full-Scale Simulation and Analysis of Formation Flight during In-Air Capturing
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Singh, SunaynaUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-9185-0267UNSPECIFIED
Stappert, SvenUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-8425-2779UNSPECIFIED
Bussler, LeonidUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-0657-4086UNSPECIFIED
Sippel, MartinUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-7356-7575UNSPECIFIED
Kucukosman, Yakut Cansevvon Karman Institute for Fluid DynamicsUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Buckingham, Sophiavon Karman Institute for Fluid DynamicsUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date:October 2021
Journal or Publication Title:Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
Refereed publication:No
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:FALCon, In-Air-Capturing, Reusable Launch Vehicle, Vertical Launch Horizontal Landing
Event Title:72nd International Astronautical Congress (IAC)
Event Location:Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Event Type:international Conference
Event Start Date:25 October 2021
Event End Date:29 October 2021
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 - System Analysis Space Transport (SART) [RP]
Location: Bremen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Space Systems > Space Launcher Systems Analysis
Deposited By: Singh, Sunayna
Deposited On:03 Nov 2021 09:25
Last Modified:24 Apr 2024 20:44

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