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CFD analysis of interaction effects between vehicles in formation flight for in-air capturing of reusable launchers

Sippel, Martin and Singh, Sunayna and Bussler, Leonid and Stappert, Sven and Buckingham, Sophia and Lopes, Silvania and Planquart, Philippe and Kucukosman, Yakut Cansev (2022) CFD analysis of interaction effects between vehicles in formation flight for in-air capturing of reusable launchers. International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2022), 18-22 September 2022, Paris, France.

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Reusing the complex, high performance, high-cost rocket stages and engines by returning them back to their launch site is becoming important not only from economical aspects but also from an ecological point of view. An innovative return mode, ‘in-air capturing (IAC)’, is chosen as it provides potential for a better performance by reducing the overall fuel consumption, when compared to other approaches like vertical landing. In this mode, a winged reusable launcher vehicle (RLV), which has slowed down to subsonic velocity through atmospheric braking is captured using an aircraft and towed back to launch site. First, the vehicles approach each other in a parallel formation with similar velocities by keeping a safe distance between them. During this formation, a capturing device autonomously captures the RLV. Once the connection has been achieved, the captured configuration is pulled up from a gliding flight to cruise flight with a towing aircraft serving as an external propulsion system to the RLV. During these phases, the RLV is exposed to the wake of the towing aircraft and will face disturbances that will likely lead to a reduction in formation envelope. The impact of proximity between the capturing device and the RLV should also be evaluated to investigate the complex interactions which would alter the aerodynamic performances of both vehicles after connection. Moreover, in the next phase, the connected configuration must pull-up from a descent to cruise flight. For this the towing aircraft will be at high angle of attacks leading to strong downwash velocity in the wake that must be studied further. In this work, a full-scale three-dimensional RANS simulation will be performed with the open source CFD code OpenFOAM 6.0 using the k-ω SST turbulence model and a compressible solver rhoSimpleFoam to investigate aforementioned issues. The CFD results will be analysed to gain better insight in the flow field and interaction effects between the three vehicles and their aerodynamic performance used for the flight dynamics simulation of IAC.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/195199/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:CFD analysis of interaction effects between vehicles in formation flight for in-air capturing of reusable launchers
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Sippel, MartinUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-7356-7575UNSPECIFIED
Singh, SunaynaUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-9185-0267UNSPECIFIED
Bussler, LeonidUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-0657-4086UNSPECIFIED
Stappert, SvenDLRhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-8425-2779UNSPECIFIED
Buckingham, Sophiavon Karman Institute for Fluid DynamicsUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Lopes, Silvaniavon Karman Institute for Fluid DynamicsUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Planquart, Philippevon Karman Institute for Fluid DynamicsUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Kucukosman, Yakut Cansevvon Karman Institute for Fluid DynamicsUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date:18 September 2022
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, Computational Fluid Dynamics, RANS
Event Title:International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2022)
Event Location:Paris, France
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:18-22 September 2022
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 - Reusable Space Systems and Propulsion Technology, R - Systems Analysis Space Transport (SART)
Location: Bremen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Space Systems > Space Launcher Systems Analysis
Deposited By: Vormschlag, Nele Marei
Deposited On:25 May 2023 09:28
Last Modified:25 May 2023 09:28

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