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Published in: Meccanica 7/2019

23-04-2019

Aerodynamic assessment of a rotary entry vehicle for Mars landing: an experimental analysis

Authors: Dario Modenini, Alessandro Rossetti, Alessandro Talamelli

Published in: Meccanica | Issue 7/2019

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Abstract

A theoretical and experimental study has been undertaken, under ESA contract, by a team including GMV, the University of Bologna and EADS-Astrium, to assess the feasibility of an entry descent and landing (EDL) vehicle based on unpowered rotary decelerator. A deployable rotor with telescopic blades is considered, aimed at replacing all the standard deceleration devices for a descent module (parachutes, airbags, and retrorockets) except for the heat shield, with Mars as the main planetary target. This paper deals with the aerodynamic assessment of the proposed vehicle configuration. The objectives are twofold. First, a proof of concept of the main autorotation related events, viz. blades deployment from folded configuration in supersonic or transonic regime and telescopic blades extension in subsonic regime, is experimentally analyzed. Second, a characterization of the vehicle performances in terms of aerodynamic drag, lift to drag ratio and rotor angular speed is accomplished. Experiments are performed in the supersonic wind tunnel of Von Karman Institute of Fluid Dynamics and in the low speed wind tunnel of the University of Bologna. The vehicle is found to feature longitudinal static stability within the tested range of angles of attack. Multivalued rotor angular rates are found at subsonic speeds, corresponding to stalled and unstalled operation, with major differences in the achieved decelerating performances. Overall, the autorotation with telescopic blades is regarded as a viable concept for Mars EDL.
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Footnotes
1
In this work and throughout the entire manuscript angle of attack means the angle between the free-stream velocity direction and the probe symmetry axis, which in turn is equal to the rotor axis.
 
2
Re number is computed taken capsule diameter as the reference dimension.
 
3
Note, however, that care must be taken in carrying out the comparison, since in NASA work the coefficients are computed using the capsule surface as a reference, rather than the rotor one. Moreover, the AoA is defined differently than in our work, with \(0^{\circ }\) here corresponding to \(90^{\circ }\) in NASA work. Finally, scaling of the diagrams reporting the various coefficients does not allow for an accurate quantification of the data points.
 
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Metadata
Title
Aerodynamic assessment of a rotary entry vehicle for Mars landing: an experimental analysis
Authors
Dario Modenini
Alessandro Rossetti
Alessandro Talamelli
Publication date
23-04-2019
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Published in
Meccanica / Issue 7/2019
Print ISSN: 0025-6455
Electronic ISSN: 1572-9648
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11012-019-00978-5

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