Trajectory optimization study of a lifting body re-entry vehicle for medium to intermediate range applications
- Conference date: 10–14 July 2012
- Location: Vienna, Austria
A numerical optimization study of lifting body re-entry vehicles is presented for nominal as well as shallow entry conditions for Medium and Intermediate Range applications. Due to the stringent requirement of a high degree of accuracy for conventional vehicles, lifting re-entry can be used to attain the impact at the desired terminal flight path angle and speed and thus can potentially improve accuracy of the re-entry vehicle. The re-entry of a medium range and intermediate range vehicles is characterized by very high negative flight path angle and low re-entry speed as compared to a maneuverable re-entry vehicle or a common aero vehicle intended for an intercontinental range. Highly negative flight path angles at the re-entry impose high dynamic pressure as well as heat loads on the vehicle. The trajectory studies are carried out to maximize the cross range of the re-entry vehicle while imposing a maximum dynamic pressure constraint of 350 KPa with a 3 MW/m2 heat rate limit. The maximum normal acceleration and the total heat load experienced by the vehicle at the stagnation point during the maneuver have been computed for the vehicle for possible future conceptual design studies. It has been found that cross range capability of up to 35 km can be achieved with a lifting-body design within the heat rate and the dynamic pressure boundary at normal entry conditions. For shallow entry angle of −20 degree and intermediate ranges a cross range capability of up to 250 km can be attained for a lifting body design with less than 10 percent loss in overall range. The normal acceleration also remains within limits. The lifting-body results have also been compared with wing-body results at shallow entry condition. An hp-adaptive pseudo-spectral method has been used for constrained trajectory optimization.
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