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  • Developing a technology base in planetary entry aerothermodynamics

    Paper ID



    • Walter B. Olstad


    NASA Langley Research Center






    An overview of the NASA technology program in planetary entry aero thermodynamics is presented. Bounds on the technology requirements of the program are set by considering a broad range of solar system exploration mission categories and by allowing great flexibility in choice of entry trajectories to the science planner. It is shown that a number of unique experimental facilities either are available now or are potentially available which, when taken together, provide a means for studying all the important phenomena and their interactions. However, since no single facility can duplicate all of the important phenomena, computational analyses must be relied upon to provide a complete prediction capability. Even with the supercomputers, expected to be in use within the next few years, this is a very demanding task. Continued advances in numerical techniques and the development of reliable engineering approximations are necessary. While the required development in ground facilities and computational capability is expected to proceed fast enough to meet technology readiness target dates, the probable mission schedule does not lend itself to a progressive buildup of usable flight experience. This lack of flight experience could be mitigated by an Earth entry flight experiment performed not later than 1976.