Aerothermodynamic testing and boundary-layer trip sizing of the HIFiRE flight 1 vehicle

Karen T. Berger, Frank A. Greene, Roger Kimmel, Christopher Alba, Heath Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


An experimental wind-tunnel test was conducted in the NASA Langley Research Center's 20 in. Mach 6 air tunnel in support of the Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation Program. The information in this paper focuses on the flight 1 configuration, the first in a series of flight experiments. The paper documents the experimental measurements made over Reynolds numbers ranging from 2.1 to 5.6 × 106/ft and angles of attack from -5 to +5 deg on several scaled ceramic heat-transfer models of the flight 1 configuration. Global heat transfer was measured using phosphor thermography, and the resulting images and heat-transfer distributions were used to infer the state of the boundary layer on the vehicle wind- and lee-side surfaces. Boundary-layer trips were used to obtain turbulent heating information, and the experimental data highlighted in this paper were used to size and place the boundary-layer trip for the flight vehicle. The required height of the flight boundary-layer trip was determined to be 0.079 in., and the trip was moved from the design location of 7.87 to 20.47 in. to ensure that augmented heating would not impact the laminar side of the vehicle. The allowable roughness was selected to be 3.2 × 10-3 in.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1124
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2008


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