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DOI 10.1007/s00193-005-0003-0

ORI GI NAL ARTI CLE

R. C. Mehta

Numerical simulation of supersonic ow past reentry capsules

Received: 24 June 2005 / Accepted: 31 August 2005 / Published online: 1 February 2006

C

Springer-Verlag 2006

Abstract The ow elds over ARD (ESAs atmospheric

reentry demonstrator), OREX (orbital reentry experiments)

and spherically blunted cone-are reentry congurations

are numerically obtained by solving time-dependent, ax-

isymmetric, compressible NavierStokes equations for

freestream Mach numbers range of 1.26.0. The uid dy-

namics are discretized in spatial coordinates employing a

nite volume approach which reduces the governing equa-

tions to semi discretized ordinary differential equations.

Temporal integration is performed using the multistage

RungeKutta time-stepping scheme. A local time step is

used to achieve steady-state solution. The numerical simu-

lation is carried out on a structured grid. The ow-eld fea-

tures around the reentry capsule, such as bow shock wave,

sonic line, expansion fan and recirculating ow in the base

region are obtained. A good agreement is found between

the calculated value of aerodynamic drag coefcient of the

spherically blunted cone/fare reentry conguration with the

experimental data. The effects of geometrical parameters,

such as radius of the spherical cap, half cone angle, with

sharp shoulder edge and with smooth shoulder edge on the

ow-eld have been numerically investigated for various

reentry conguration which will be useful for optimization

of the reentry capsule.

Keywords Supersonic ows Computational uid

dynamics Reentry capsules

PACS 47.11.Df, 47.40.Ki

1 Introduction

A high-speed ow-past a blunt-body generates a bow shock

wave which causes a rather high surface pressure and as

Communicated by K. Takayama

R. C. Mehta (B)

Aerodynamics Division, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre,

Trivandrum 695022, India

E-mail: atulm@md4.vsnl.net.in

a result the development of high aerodynamic drag which

is needed for aerobraking. Highly blunt congurations are

generally used to decelerate spacecraft for safe returning on

the Earth after performing the experiments. The bow shock

wave is detached from the blunt forebody and is having a

mixed subsonicsupersonic region between them. The sur-

face pressure distribution, the location of the sonic line and

the shock stand-off distance on the spherical cap have been

analytically calculated at very high speeds with an adiabatic

index near to unity which gives a singular point at 60

from

the stagnation point [1, 2]. The analytical approach for the

high-speed ow-past the blunt-body is considerably difcult

and complex [3]. The ow-eld over the reentry module be-

comes further complicated due to the presence of corner at

the shoulder and the base shell of the capsule.

Aeroassist ight experiment (AFE) congurations have

been analyzed using two different NavierStokes ow

solvers by Venkatapathy et al. [4]. Aerodynamic heating

and pressure along with the forebody and wake-ow struc-

ture during atmospheric entry of the Mars Pathnder space-

craft have been computed by Haas and Venkatapathy [5] us-

ing the commerically available general atmospheric simula-

tion program (GASP 2.2). An aerodynamic analysis of the

commercial experiment transport (COMET) reentry capsule

has been carried out by Wood et al. [6] solving the lami-

nar thin layer NavierStokes LAURA code for low super-

sonic to hypersonic speeds. The LAURA code is an upwind,

point implicit, second-order-accurate uid dynamics solver

based on an extension of the Roe ux-difference-splitting

scheme. Yamomoto et al. [7] carried out ow-eld com-

putation over the OREX (orbital reentry experiments) us-

ing computational uid dynamics approach coupled with the

thermal response of the heat shield material using nite el-

ement method in conjunction with the aerodynamic ight

data. Tam [8] has computed ow eld at hypersonic Mach

numbers over Viking, Biconic and AFE reentry capsules us-

ing IEC3D (inviscid equilibrium computation in three di-

mension). Menne [9] has computed ow eld over Viking

(Apollo type) and Biconic cases for freestream Mach num-

bers 2.0 and 3.0 by solving Euler equations. The inviscid

32 R. C. Mehta

Fig. 1 Representation of ow features on blunted body at supersonic speeds

analysis is unable to predict the ow separation in the back

region of the reentry module. The aerodynamic characteri-

zation of the CARINA reentry module in the low supersonic

Mach regimes has been performed employing numerical and

experimental approach [10]. The ow-eld simulation past

the ARD (ESAs atmospheric reentry demonstrator) module

has been computed numerically by Walpot [11] at hyper-

sonic speeds. Developments relating to base pressure and

base heating prediction for wide range of cone and wedge

have been reviewed for supersonic and hypersonic Mach

numbers by Lamb and Oberkampf [12]. Recently, ow-

eld solutions past Beagle-2 spacecraft have been obtained

by Liever et al. [13] using commerically available CFD-

FASTRAN code for low supersonic to hypersonic speeds.

A numerical simulation code has been used for super or-

bital reentry ow and has been applied to the ow-eld pre-

diction around the MUSES-C reentry capsule [14]. Super-

sonic and hypersonic ow over a slender cone [15] has been

numerically obtained by solving NavierStokes equations

using an explicit multi-stage Roes scheme. The ow eld

around blunt reentry capsules [16] were numerically stud-

ied in order to understand the mechanism of dynamic in-

stability of the capsule at freestream Mach number of 1.3.

The blunt and short reentry capsule tends to be dynami-

cally unstable at low supersonic Mach number attributed

primarily to the delay in base pressure [17]. Numerical

studies have been carried out by Ottens [18] using a lam-

inar NavierStokes ow solver for two different types of

delft aerospace reentry test (DART) demonstrators reentry

modules.

The above literature survey reveals that the forebody

shape of reentry capsules can be classied either using as

a spherical cap as in the case of Apollo and ARD, or com-

bination of the spherical nose with cone as in the case of

OREX and Beagle-2, or a spherical blunt-cone/are cong-

uration as proposed by DART. The ow-eld features over

the reentry capsule can be delineated through the experimen-

tal and theoretical investigations at high speeds. The signif-

icant ow features are described by the following: In the

forebody region, the uid decelerates through the bow shock

wave depending upon the cruise speed and altitude. At the

shoulder of the capsule, the ow turns and expands rapidly,

and the boundary layer detaches, forming a free shear layer

that separates the inner recirculating ow region behind the

base from the outer ow eld. The latter is recompressed

and turned back to freestream direction, rst by the so-called

lip shock, and further downstream by recompression shock.

At the end of the recirculating ow past the neck, the shear

layer develops in the wake trail. A complex inviscid wave

structure often includes a lip shock wave (associates with

the corner expansion) and wake trail (adjacent to the shear-

layer conuence). The corner expansion process is a modi-

ed PrandtlMayer pattern distorted by the presence of the

approaching boundary layer. Figure 1 shows schematic fea-

tures of the ow eld over OREX and DART.

The sonic line is located on the OREX-type congura-

tion on the shoulder whereas in the case of DARTs reentry

module, the location of the sonic line is at the junction of the

spherical blunt cone. Thus, it is seen that the ow eld over

the reentry capsule needs a high drag with good static stabil-

ity margin which leads to the selection of an axisymmetric

shape of large angle sphere-cone combination.

The forebody geometry of the ARD conguration is hav-

ing a spherical cap; the OREX module is having combina-

tion of spherical cap with cone. The other capsule consists

of spherically blunted cone/fare. These capsules cover most

of the existing reentry modules. The main aim of the present

paper is to numerically analyze three types of reentry mod-

ules such as ARD, OREX and DART congurations in order

to understand ow-eld behavior and its inuence on pro-

les of the surface pressure and skin friction coefcients and

also aerodynamic drag for freestream Mach numbers range

of 1.26.0. The numerical solution of solve-axisymmetric

laminar-compressible time-dependent NavierStokes equa-

tions is carried out employing a multi-stage RungeKutta

time stepping scheme. The numerical scheme is second-

order accurate in space and time. A local time step is used

to obtain a steady-state solution. The computation is carried

Numerical simulation of supersonic ow past reentry capsules 33

out on a structured grid. The effects of geometrical parame-

ters of the reentry capsules on the wall quantities and aero-

dynamic drag coefcient are analyzed using the numerically

obtained ow-eld data.

2 Problem denition and approach

2.1 Governing equations

The axisymmetric time-dependent compressible Navier

Stokes equations can be written in the following strong con-

servative form:

W

t

+

F

x

+

G

r

+H =

_

R

x

+

S

r

_

(1)

where

W= r

_

_

_

_

_

u

v

e

_

_

, F = r

_

_

_

_

_

u

u

2

+ p

uv

(e + p)u

_

_

,

G = r

_

_

_

_

_

v

uv

v

2

+ p

(e + p)v

_

_

are the state vector W and inviscid ux vectors F and G.

The viscous ux vectors are R, S, and H is the source vector

term.

R = r

_

_

_

_

_

0

xx

xr

u

xx

+

xr

+q

x

_

_

,

S = r

_

_

_

_

_

0

xr

rr

u

xr

+

rr

+q

r

_

_

, H =

_

_

_

_

_

0

0

+

0

_

_

where

xx

,

rr

,

xr

and

+

are components of the stress

vector, q

x

and q

r

are components of the ux vector, u

and are axial- and radial-velocity components in x and

r directions, respectively, e is the total energy. Thus, the

viscous terms in the above equations become

xx

=

2

3

U +2

u

x

rr

=

2

3

U +2

xr

=

r x

=

_

u

r

+

x

_

+

= p

2

3

U +2

r

U =

x

x

+

r

+

r

q

x

=

C

p

Pr

T

x

q

r

=

C

p

Pr

T

r

where C

p

is specic heat at constant pressure, U is the mean

upstream velocity. Pr is the Prandtl number. The coefcient

of molecular viscosity is calculated according to Suther-

lands law. The ow is assumed to be laminar, which is con-

sistent with the numerical simulation of [6, 13, 15]. The tem-

perature T is related to the pressure p and by the perfect

gas equation of state as

p

( 1)

=

_

e

1

2

(u

2

+

2

)

_

(2)

The ratio of specic heats was assumed constant and

equal to 1.4.

2.2 Numerical algorithm

2.2.1 Spatial discretization

To facilitate the spatial discretization in the numerical

scheme, the governing uid dynamics, Eq. (1), can be writ-

ten in the integral form over a nite volume as

t

_

Wd+

_

(Fdr Gdx) =

_

(Rdr Sdx)

_

Hd

(3)

where is the computational domain, is the boundary of

the domain. The contour integration around the boundary of

the cell is taken in the anticlockwise sense.

The computational domain is divided into a nite num-

ber of non-overlapping quadilateral cells. The conservation

variables within the computational cell are represented by

their average values at the cell centre (i, j ). When the inte-

gral governing Eq. (3) is applied separately to each cell in

the computational domain, we obtain a set of coupled ordi-

nary differential equations of the form

A

i, j

W

i, j

t

= Q(W

i, j

) V(W

i, j

) +A

i, j

H

i, j

(4)

where A

i, j

is the area of the computational cell, Q(W

i, j

),

V(W

i, j

) and H(W

i, j

) are the inviscid and viscous uxes

and source term, respectively. These quantities are obtained

by a simple averaging of adjacent cell-centre values of de-

pendent variables [19]. In viscous calculations, dissipating

properties are present due to diffusive terms.

34 R. C. Mehta

2.2.2 Articial dissipation

To suppress the tendency for odd- and even-point decoupling

and to prevent the appearance of oscillations in regions con-

taining severe pressure gradients near shock wave and stag-

nation points, the nite volume scheme must be augmented

by the addition of artical dissipation terms. Therefore,

Eq. (4) is replaced by

A

i, j

W

i, j

t

+Res(W

i, j

) D(W

i, j

) = 0 (5)

where the residual Res(W) is given by

Res(W

i, j

) = Q(W

i, j

) V(W

i, j

) +A

i, j

H

i, j

(6)

where D

i, j

denotes the dissipative terms which are gener-

ated by dissipative uxes. The approach of Jameson et al.

[20] is adopted to construct the dissipative terms consisting

of a blend of second and fourth differences of the vector

conserved variables W

i, j

with coefcients that depend on

the local pressure gradient. The dissipation term consists of

the following operators in each direction.

D = (D

x

+D

r

)W

i, j

(7)

The dissipative uxes in each direction are

D

x

U

i, j

= d

i +

1

2

, j

d

i

1

2

, j

D

r

U

i, j

= d

i, j +

1

2

d

i, j

1

2

.

The dissipative ux d

i +

1

2

, j

is dened as

d

i +

1

2

, j

=

(A)

i +

1

2

, j

(t )

i +

1

2

, j

_

d

(2)

i +

1

2

, j

d

(4)

i +

1

2

, j

_

(8)

with

d

(2)

i +

1

2

, j

=

(2)

(W

i +1, j

W

i, j

)

d

(4)

i +

1

2

, j

=

(4)

(W

i +2, j

3W

i +1, j

+3W

i, j

W

i 1, j

).

(9)

The terms d

i

1

2

, j

, d

i, j +

1

2

and d

i, j

1

2

are calculated in an

analogus manner.

(2)

and

(4)

are adaptive coefcients and

dened as

(2)

=

(2)

max(

i +1, j

,

i, j

)

(4)

= max

_

0,

(4)

(2)

_

(10)

are switched on or off by use of the shock wave sensor ,

with

i, j

=

p

i +1, j

2p

i, j

+ p

i 1, j

p

i +1

, j +2p

i, j

+ p

i 1, j

(11)

where

(2)

are

(4)

are constants, taken equal to

1

4

and

1

256

,

respectively, in the above calculations. The scaling quantity

(

A

t

)

i +

1

2

, j

in Eq. (8) conrms the inclusion of the cell vol-

ume in the dependent variable of Eq. (4). The blend of sec-

ond and fourth differences provides third-order background

dissipation in smooth regions of the ow and rst-order dis-

sipation as shock waves. The dissipation terms in the r-

direction are constructed in a similar way.

2.2.3 Time-marching scheme

The spatial discretization described above reduces the gov-

erning ow equations to semidiscrete ordinary differential

equations. The integration is performed using an efcient

mutistage three-stage RungeKutta time-stepping scheme

[20]. The time-step advance of each variable W from time

(t ) to time (t +t ) can be written as

W

(0)

= W(t )

W

(1)

= W(t ) 0.6

_

t

A

_

_

Res

(0)

D

(0)

_

W

(1)

= W(t ) 0.6

_

t

A

_

_

Res

(1)

D

(0)

_

W

(1)

= W(t ) 0.6

_

t

A

_

_

Res

(2)

D

(0)

_

W(t +t ) = W

(3)

(12)

In order to minimize the computation time and increase

the stability margin for the dissipative terms, the expensive

evaluation of the articial dissipation terms is carried out

only at the rst intermediate stage (0) and then frozen for the

subsequent stages. A conservative choice of the Courant

FriedrichsLewy (CFL) number (1.4) is taken to achieve a

stable numerical solution. Local time steps are used to ac-

clerate convergence to a steady-state solution by setting the

time step at each point to the maximum value allowed by

the local CFL condition. The present numerical algorithm is

validated with many test cases [21, 22].

2.3 Initial and boundary conditions

The freestream conditions for each trajectory point are enu-

merated in Table 1, which are used as the initial conditions.

The subscript represents freestream value in Table 1.

Four types of boundary conditions are required for the

computation of ow eld, i.e. wall, inow, outow and sym-

metric conditions. They are prescribed as follows:

At the solid wall, no-slip condition is enforced by setting

u

w

= v

w

= 0 (13)

together with an adiabatic wall condition where subscript w

refers to the wall condition.

At the inow, all ow variables are prescribed at the

freestream values as given in Table 1.

For the supersonic outowcase, all owvariables are ex-

trapolated at the outer and wake regions of the computational

Table 1 Trajectory points and initial conditions

M

m/s p

, (Pa) T

, (K)

1.2 351 4519 210

2.0 596 2891 219

3.0 903 2073 224

5.0 1532 1238 232

6.0 1840 1064 234

Numerical simulation of supersonic ow past reentry capsules 35

Fig. 2 Geometrical parameters of reentry capsules

domain. At the centre line of the computational domain, the

following symmetric conditions are prescribed.

= 0

u

r

=

T

r

=

p

r

= 0

(14)

At the center line of the reentry capsule, the respective

cell faces are having zero surface area; therefore, it is simple

to implement the symmetric conditions.

3 Model and grid arrangement

3.1 Body conguration

The dimensional detail of the ARD capsule, shown in

Fig. 2a, is an axisymmetric design with a spherical blunt

nose diameter, D = 2.8 m, spherical cap radius, R

N

=

3.36 m and a shoulder radius, R

C

= 0.014 m. The back shell

has inclination angle

B

= 33

of symmetry. A frustum of cone of radius 0.507 m with a

12

all length of the module L = 2.04 m. The ARD resembles a

70% scaled version of Apollo capsule [11].

The OREX geometry is depicted in Fig. 2b with the de-

tailed dimensions. The forebody shape consists of R

N

=

1.35 m, a half-angle cone of

N

= 50

, D = 3.4 m,

L = 1.508 m and R

C

= 0.01 m. The OREX geometry in-

corporates a rear cover with a small backward facing step

at the junction between back cover and heat shield. The aft

body is having a,

B

= 15

plane of symmetry.

The spherically blunted-cone/are conguration is illus-

trated in Fig. 2c. The conical forebody has R

N

= 0.51 m,

D = 2.03 m, L = 1.67 m and

N

= 20

half-angle cone of 25

lar cylinder and is geometrically similar to the REV of the

DART demonstrator [18].

3.2 Computational grid

One of the controlling factors for the numerical simulation

is the proper grid arrangement. In order to initiate the nu-

merical simulation of ow over the body, the physical shape

is discretized into nonuniform-spaced grid points. These

body-oriented grids are generated algebraically in conjunc-

tion with homotopy scheme [23]. The typical computational

space over the reentry capsule is dened by a number of grid

points in cylindrical coordinate system. Using these surface

points as the reference nodes, the normal coordinate is then

described by exponentially structured eld points, (x

i, j

, r

i, j

)

extending outwards upto an outer computational boundary.

The stretching of grid points in the normal direction is ob-

tained using the following expression:

x

i, j

= x

i,0

_

e

( j 1)

nr 1

1

e

1

_

+ x

i,w

_

1

e

( j 1)

nr 1

1

e

1

_

r

i, j

= r

i,0

_

e

( j 1)

nr 1

1

e

1

_

+r

i,w

_

1

e

( j 1)

nr 1

1

e

1

_

i = 1, 2, . . . , n

x

j = 1, 2, . . . , n

r

(15)

36 R. C. Mehta

Fig. 3 Enlarged view of computational grid

where r

i,w

and r

i,0

are wall and outer surface points, respec-

tively, is the streching factor. n

x

and n

r

are total number of

grid points in x and r directions, respectively. These streched

grids are generated in an orderly manner. The typical com-

putational space of the reentry module is dened by a num-

ber of grid points in the cylindrical coordinate system. Using

these surface points as the reference nodes, the normal co-

ordinate is then described by exponentially streched struc-

tured eld points, extending up to an outer computational

boundary. The streched grid points in the direction is ob-

tained using exponentially stretched relation. These grids are

generated in an orderly manner. Grid independence tests are

carried out taking into consideration the effect of the com-

putational domain, the streching factor to control the grid

intensity near the wall, and the number of grid points in the

axial and normal directions. The outer boundary of the com-

putational domain is varied from 5 to 12 times the maximum

diameter of the capsule. The grid streching factor in the ra-

dial direction is varied from 1.5 to 5. The present numerical

analysis is carried out on 132 52 grid points. The grid

streching factor is selected as 5, and the outer boundary of

the computational domain is kept about 47 times the maxi-

mum diameter of the reentry module. In the downstream di-

rection, the computational boundary is about 610 times the

maximum diameter of the capsule. The minimum grid spac-

ing at the wall is about 2 10

5

8 10

5

m, sufcient

to resolve the boundary layer and complex ow eld which

gives resulting Reynolds number after bow shock wave for

this minimum grid spacing as 3341. The coarse grid helps

in reducing the computer time. A close-up view of the com-

putational grid over different capsules can be seen in Fig. 3.

This grid arrangement is found to give a difference mea-

sured and computed values of 1.5% in the drag coefcient.

The convergence criterion is based on the difference in den-

sity values, , at any grid point between two successive iter-

ations, that is, |

l+1

l

| 10

5

, where l is the iterative

index.

4 Results and discussion

The numerical procedure described in the previous section

is applied here to compute oweld over ARD (ESAs at-

mospheric reentry demonstrator), OREX (orbital reentry ex-

periments) with a smooth and a sharp shoulder edge and

a spherically blunted cone-are reentry modules and for

freestream Mach numbers range of 1.26.0.

4.1 Flow characteristics

Figures 47 show the enlarged view of the computed veloc-

ity vector eld over the above-mentioned vehicles at various

freestream Mach numbers M

vector plots that all the signicant oweld features such as

bow shock wave, rapid expansion fans on the corner, ow re-

circulation region with converging free shear layer and for-

mation of the vortex ow in the aft region of the capsule.

The wake ow eld, immediately behind the capsule base,

exhibits complex ow characteristics. The formation of the

bow shock wave on the forebody of the capsule is observed,

which depends on R

N

and

N

and the value of M

. The

bow shock wave moves close to the forebody with the in-

creasing M

wave and the forebody decreases with the increasing M

.

Fig. 4 Enlarged view of velocity eld over ARD

Numerical simulation of supersonic ow past reentry capsules 37

Fig. 5 Enlarged view of velocity eld over OREX (with smooth shoul-

der edge)

Fig. 6 Enlarged viewof velocity eld over OREX(with sharp shoulder

edge)

In Fig. 7, the bow shock wave does not follow the body con-

tour in the case of the spherically blunted cone-are cong-

uration, which is attributed to small values of R

N

and

N

as

compared to OREX. A gradual ow turning can be visual-

ized in the case of OREX with smooth shoulder edge as seen

in Fig. 5 whereas a sharp ow turning is found in the sharp

shoulder edge of the OREX as noticed in Fig. 6. The ap-

proaching supersonic boundary layer separates at the corner

and the free shear layer is formed in the wake region. The

wake ow feature also depicts vortex attached to the corner

with a large recirculating ow behind the vehicle adjacent to

the axis of symmetry which depends on

B

and M

. The

separation point moves downstream from the shoulder to-

wards the base with the increase in M

. Similar ow-eld

features were observed in the analysis of the bulbous pay-

load shroud of the heat shield of the launch vehicle [24].

Fig. 7 Enlarged view of velocity eld over spherically blunted cone-

are module

Computed Mach contour plots around the various

capsules are shown in Figs. 811 for various freestream

M

vortices at the corner region of the capsule for M

3.

Characteristic features of the ow eld around the blunt

body at supersonic speeds, such as bow shock wave ahead of

the capsule, the wake, and the recompression shock waves

emanating from the neck point, are observed in the Mach

contour plots. In Figs. 810, the bow shock wave follows

the body contour and the forebody is entirely subsonic upto

the corner tangency point of the ARD and the OREX where

the sonic line is located. In the case of spherically blunted

Fig. 8 Mach contours over ARD

38 R. C. Mehta

Fig. 9 Mach contours over OREX (with smooth shoulder edge)

Fig. 10 Mach contours over OREX (with sharp shoulder edge)

Fig. 11 Mach contours over spherically blunted cone-are module

cone-are module, the sonic line is located at the junction of

the sphere cone as seen in Fig. 11. The Mach contour plots

reveal many intresting ow features of the reentry capsule.

The ow expands at the base corner and is followed by the

recompression shock downstream of the base which realigns

the ow. The ow then develops in the trailing wake. The

ow ground of the capsule is divided into regions inside and

outside of the ow recirculating zone, and two regions are

separated by the shear layer. The wake structure includes

one vortex attached to the conical after-body frustum and

a large recirculating vortex behind the reentry module.

As observed in Figs. 811, vortices are generated at the

capsule surface and are then moving and changing location

with M

the shoulder of the capsule at Mach number 1.2 and 2.0.

The ow may become highly unsteady at supersonic Mach

numbers [16, 17] due to the formation of the vortices. Note,

however, that use of a xed CFL number in the present

numerical ow simulation leads to a local time step size

which differs throughout the ow domain. The local time

stepping scheme gives rapid convergence for steady-ow

problem but cannot compute time accurate behaviour. Rapid

expansion around the fore body corners produces high

Mach numbers in the outer inviscid region of the wake.

Figures 1215 show the pressure coefcient [C

p

=

2( p/p

) 1/ M

2

ferent reentry capsules and freestream Mach numbers. The

s/D = 0 location is the stagnation point, where s is the dis-

tance measured along the surface from the stagnation point

and D is the maximum diameter of the capsule. The pres-

sure coefcient on the spherical cap of the capsule decreases

gradually for a given M

. In Figs. 1315, C

p

falls on the

sphere-cone junction and remains constant over the cone.

In the case of the ARD and the OREX, the sonic point

moves to the corner of the blunt bodies and affects the pres-

sure distribution throughout the subsonic ow. In the case of

the OREX with

N

= 50

Fig. 12 Variation of pressure coefcient along the surface (ARD)

Numerical simulation of supersonic ow past reentry capsules 39

Fig. 13 Variation of pressure coefcient along the surface (OREXwith

smooth shoulder edge)

Fig. 14 Variation of pressure coefcient along the surface (OREXwith

sharp shoulder edge)

overexpanded ow. The spherically blunted cone-are con-

guration (

N

= 20

Fig. 15. These types of ow-eld features are also explained

by Bertin [25] in conjunction with ow past reentry cap-

sules. A sudden drop in C

p

is observed on the shoulder of

the module followed by a negative C

p

variation in the base

region. A low pressure is formed immediately downstream

of the base which is characterized by a low-speed recirculat-

ing ow region which can be attributed to ll-up the growing

space between the shock wave and the body [3]. In the base

region, C

p

is decreasing with increasing M

. The effect of

the corner radius on C

p

can be observed in Figs. 13 and 14.

The value of C

p

is higher on the corner as compared with the

sharp shoulder edge of the OREX module. At M

= 1.2, a

wavy pattern is observed in the pressure distribution in the

Fig. 15 Variation of pressure coefcient along the surface (spherically

blunted cone-are module)

Fig. 16 Variation of skin friction coefcient along the surface (ARD)

base region which may be attributed due to complex geom-

etry in the base region of the OREX.

The skin friction coefcient C

t

along the surface of the

capsule is computed using following relation.

C

f

=

du

dr

wall

1

2

u

2

(16)

Figures 1619 depict the variation of C

f

along the sur-

face of the capsule with M

as a parameter. C

f

decreases

with increasing M

friction increases in the spherical region then decreases on

the rst cone generator and again starts increasing on the

are. A sudden drop in skin friction is found at the shoulder

of the capsule. This may be attributed to sudden expansion

of the ow on the corner. Negative skin friction can be seen

40 R. C. Mehta

Fig. 17 Variation of skin friction coefcient along the surface (OREX

with smooth shoulder edge)

on the base, which is due to the ow separation. The separa-

tion zone is found to be function of M

base region of the capsule. Pressure fore drag is calculated

by integrating the pressure distribution on the body surface

excluding the base of the capsule and can be expressed as

C

D

=

2r

i

C

p

_

i

tan dx

A

max

(17)

where r and are local radius and local inclination angle in

the x-direction station i respectively. A

max

is the maximum

area of the capsule. Table 2 gives pressure-drag coef-

cient of the ARD, the OREX- and the spherically blunted

cone-are congurations at different M

. C

D

increased

as the nose radius is increased; as expected, the increase is

relatively small. High aerodynamic drag is seen in the ARD-

and the OREX- type module as compared with the spherical

blunt congurations. High C

D

is found for the OREX

with the smooth shoulder edge as compared to the corner

radius. A good agreement is found between the calculated

value of forebody aerodynamic drag coefcient of the

spherically blunted cone-fare reentry conguration with the

experimental data.

Table 2 Forebody pressure drag coefcient

M Calculated value of C

D

Experimental

value of C

D

ARD OREX with smooth OREX with sharp Spherically blunted Spherically blunted

shoulder edge shoulder edge cone are cone are

1.2 1.45 1.82 1.80 0.43 0.42

2 1.43 1.50 1.36 0.42 0.41

3 1.28 1.30 1.17 0.39 0.40

5 1.13 1.16 1.04

6 0.37 0.38

Fig. 18 Variation of skin friction coefcient along the surface (OREX

with sharp shoulder edge)

Fig. 19 Variation of skin friction coefcient along the surface (spheri-

cally blunted cone-are module)

Numerical simulation of supersonic ow past reentry capsules 41

5 Conclusion

The ow eld over various reentry axisymmetric congu-

rations are studied numerically by solving time-dependent

compressible NavierStokes equations. The governing uid-

ow equations are discretized in spatial coordinates employ-

ing a nite volume approach which reduces the equations

to semi-discretized ordinary differential equations. Tempo-

ral integration is performed using the two-stage Runge

Kutta time-stepping scheme. A local time step is used to

achieved steady-state solution. Flow eld around the cap-

sules have been calculated in the freestream Mach number

range of 1.26.0 for different congurations. The essential

ow-eld features around the capsules are captured for vari-

ous reentry capsules. The effects of geometrical parameters,

such as radius of the spherical cap, half cone angle, with

the sharp shoulder edge and with the smooth shoulder edge

on the ow eld have been numerically investigated for var-

ious reentry conguration. The ARD, the OREX capsules

have the sonic line over the forebody shoulder whereas the

spherically blunted cone-are module is having sonic line

over the spherical cap region. The ow eld behind the bow

shock wave is either subsonic or mixed subsonicsupersonic

region depending upon the geometrical parameters of the

reentry conguration. Thus, the reentry congurations can

be distinguished by the location of the sonic line over the

fore-body at supersonic Mach number which inuences wall

pressure and skin friction variations and also aerodynamic

drag coefcient. The shoulder edge affects the corner expan-

sion wave. The pressure coefcient, the skin friction coef-

cient variation along the surface and the integrated value of

pressure coefcient will be useful quantities for optimization

of the reentry capsule.

References

1. Chester, W.: Supersonic ow past a bluff body with a detached

shock. J. Fluid Mech. 1, 353365 (1956)

2. Freeman, N.C.: On the theory of hypersonic ow past plane and

axially symmetric bluff bodies. J. Fluid Mech. 1, 353365 (1956)

3. Lighthill, M.J.: Dynamics of a dissociating gas, Part 1: Equilib-

rium ow. J. Fluid Mech. 2, 132 (1957)

4. Venkatapathy, E., Palmer, G., Prabhu, D.K.: AFE base compu-

tations including base heating predictions. AIAA Paper 91-1372

(June 1991)

5. Haas, B.L., Venkatapathy, E.: Mars Pathnder computations in-

cluding base heating predictions. AIAA Paper 95-2086 (1995)

6. Wood, W.A., Gnoffo, D.F.G., Rault, D.F.G.: Commercial Experi-

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646 (1996)

7. Yamamoto, Y., Yoshioka, M.: CFD and FEM coupling analysis

of OREX aerothermodynamic ight data. AIAA Paper 95-2087

(1995)

8. Tam, L.T.: LU-SGS Implicit Scheme for entry vehicle ow com-

putation and comparison with aerodynamic ight data. AIAA pa-

per 95-2671 CP (1992)

9. Menne, S.: Computation of non-winged vehicle aerodynamics in

the low supersonic rane. In: Proceedings of the Second European

Symposium on Aerothermodynamics for Space Vehicles, ESTEC,

Noordwiik, The Netherlands, pp. 7378, 2125 November 1994.

10. Solazzo, M.A., Sansone, A., Gasbarri, P.: Aerodynamic charac-

terization of the Carina reentry module in the low supersonic

regimes. In: Proceedings of the Second European Symposium on

Aerothermodynamics for Space Vehicles, ESTEC, Noordwiik, pp.

4147, 2125 November 1994

11. Walpot, L.: Numerical Analysis of the ARD capsule in S4 wind

tunnel. In: Proceedings of the Fourth European Symposium on

Aerothermodynamics for Space Applications, Capua, Italy, pp.

523527, 1518 October ESA, 2001

12. Lamb, J.P., Oberkampf, W.L.: Review and development of base

pressure and base heating correlations in supersonic ow. J.

Spacecraft Rockets 32(1), 823 (1995)

13. Liever, P.A., Habchi, S.D., Burnell, S.I., Lingard, J.S.: Computa-

tional prediction of the Beagle 2 aerodynamic database. J. Space-

craft Rockets 40(5), 632638 (2003)

14. Osu, H., Abe, T., Ohnishi, Y., Sasoh, A., Takayama, K.: Numerical

investigation of high-enthaly ow generated by expansion tube.

AIAA J. 40(12), 24232430 (2002)

15. Tai, C-S., Kao, A-F.: NavierStokes solver for hypersonic ow

over a slander cone. J. Spacecraft Rockets 31(1), 215222 (1994)

16. Teramoto, S., Hiraki, K., Fujii, K.: Numerical analysis of dynamic

stability of a reentry capsule at transonic speeds. AIAA J 39(4),

646653 (2001)

17. Teramoto, S., Fujii, K.: Mechanism of dynamic instability of a

reentry capsule at transonic speeds. AIAA J 40(12), 24672475

(2002)

18. Otten, H.B.A.: Preliminary computational investigation on aero-

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October 2001

19. Peyret, R., Viviand, H.: Computational Methods for Fluid Flow.

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20. Jameson, A., Schmidt, W., Turkel, E.: Numerical solution of Eu-

ler equations by nite volume methods using Runge-Kutta time

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21. Mehta, R.C.: Comparitive study of surface pressure uctuations

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23. Shang, J.S.: Numerical simulation of wing-fuselage interference

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