Morphing Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator

Author: ORCID icon
Green, Justin, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering - School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Lindberg, Robert, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Virginia
Dunn, Barry, Mechanical Systems Branch, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The ever growing complexity of missions to planetary bodies has pushed the Viking era rigid aeroshell designs to their operational limits. Plans for future robotic missions to Mars include 1 – 2 metric ton payloads, and human missions to Mars push the envelope even further by requiring 40 – 80 metric ton payloads. Aeroshell designers have been driven to Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) technologies for the promise of entry vehicles that can deliver larger payloads to higher elevations with increased precision and increased aeroshell volume efficiency with their ability to obtain aeroshell diameters not possible with rigid aeroshells.
The incorporation of HIAD technology into entry vehicle designs open up a new avenue for trajectory control through shape morphing of the inflatable structure, whereas rigid aeroshells are limited to lift modulation through center of mass (CoM) offset. This thesis utilizes the super ellipse model for aeroshell shape generation, the Modified Newtonian Impact Theory for aerodynamic evaluation, a 3 DOF trajectory simulation, and a stagnation point heating model to evaluate morphed aeroshell shapes, and their effect on trajectory. The Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE) – 3 flight project and the High Energy Atmospheric Reentry Test (HEART) mission concept serve as the two HIAD case studies used in this thesis.
This thesis meets the following goals by evaluating morphed aeroshell shapes applied to two HIAD cases: 1) develop a tool for evaluating morphed aeroshell shapes; 2) determine a morphed aeroshell shape that will generate the greatest change in lift-over-drag, |Δ(L/D) |, for a given entry vehicle at a fixed angle of attack, while keeping the stagnation point heat flux below 30 W/cm2. 3) Provide a basis for future research of morphing HIAD structures.

MS (Master of Science)
Model, Hypersonic Infaltable Aerodynamic Decelerator, Morphing, HIAD
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