When the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) is launched, the spacecraft adaptor (SA) fairings that cover the CEV service module (SM) are exposed to aero heating. Thermal analysis is performed to compute the fairing temperatures and to investigate whether the temperatures are within the material limits for nominal ascent aero-heating case. The ascent heating is analyzed by using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and engineering codes at Marshall Space Flight Center. The aero-heating environment data used for this work is known as Thermal Environment 3 (TE3) heating data. One of the major concerns is with the SA fairings covering the CEV SM and the SM/crew launch vehicle (CLV) flange interface. The TE3 heating rate is a function of time, wall temperature, and the spatial locations. The implementation of the TE3 heating rate as boundary conditions in the thermal analysis becomes challenging.

The ascent heating thermal analysis on SA fairings and SM/CLV flange interface are performed using two commercial software packages: Cullimore & Ring (C&R) Thermal Desktop (TD) 5.1 and MSC Patran 2007r1 b. TD is the pre- and post-processor for SINDA, which is a finite-difference-based solver. In TD, the geometry is built and meshed, the boundary conditions are defined, and then SINDA is used to compute temperatures. MSC Pthermal is a finite-element-based thermal solver. MSC Patran is the pre- and post-processor for Pthermal. Regarding the boundary conditions, the convection, contact resistance, and heat load can be imposed in different ways in both programs. These two software packages are used to build the thermal model for the same analysis to validate each other and show the differences in the modeling details.

This work was done by Xiao Yen Wang, James Yuko, and Brian Motil of Glenn Research Center.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to NASA Glenn Research Center, Innovative Partnerships Office, Attn: Steve Fedor, Mail Stop 4–8, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44135. Refer to LEW-18471-1.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the May, 2011 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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