Title of Presentation: Aerothermal Modeling for Entry and Aerocapture

Primary (Corresponding) Author: Michael Wright

Organization of Primary Author: NASA Ames Research Center


Abstract:The current status of aerothermal modeling for Earth and planetary entry missions will be discussed. For such missions the accuracy of our simulations is limited not by the tools and processes currently employed, but rather by correctable deficiencies in the underlying physical models. Improving the accuracy of the models and reducing the uncertainties in these models will enable a greater understanding of the system level impacts of a particular thermal protection system and of the system operation and risk over the operational life of the system. A strategic plan will be laid out by which key aerothermal uncertainties can be identified via mission-specific gap analysis.  Once the gaps have been identified, the key uncertainties driving our ability to accurately and conservatively predict a given aerothermal environment are determined via sensitivity analyses, and the results are used to plan focussed testing aimed at reducing these key uncertainties. The results of these tests are then used to validate or modify existing physical models. Examples of this sort of analysis for potential Titan aerocapture and Mars Science Laboratory missions will be shown.