Developing Optimized Trajectories Derived from Mission and Thermo-Structural Constraints
15th AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference
In conjunction with NASA and the Department of Defense, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) has been investigating analytical techniques to address many of the fundamental issues associated with solar exploration spacecraft and high-speed atmospheric vehicle systems. These issues include: thermo-structural response including the effects of thermal management via the use of surface optical properties for high-temperature composite structures; aerodynamics with the
... dynamics with the effects of non-equilibrium chemistry and gas radiation; and aero-thermodynamics with the effects of material ablation for a wide range of thermal protection system (TPS) materials. The need exists to integrate these discrete tools into a common framework that enables the investigation of interdisciplinary interactions (including analysis tool, applied load, and environment uncertainties) to provide high fidelity solutions. In addition to developing robust tools for the coupling of aerodynamically induced thermal and mechanical loads, JHU/APL has been studying the optimal design of high-speed vehicles as a function of their trajectory. Under traditional design methodology the optimization of system level mission parameters such as range and time of flight is performed independently of the optimization for thermal and mechanical constraints such as stress and temperature. A truly optimal trajectory should optimize over the entire range of mission and thermo-mechanical constraints. Under this research, a framework for the robust analysis of high-speed spacecraft and atmospheric vehicle systems has been developed. It has been built around a generic, loosely coupled framework such that a variety of readily available analysis tools can be used. The methodology immediately addresses many of the current analysis inadequacies and allows for future extension in order to handle more complex problems.