Development of Models for Disk-Gap-Band Parachutes Deployed Supersonically in the Wake of a Slender Body

Clara O'Farrell, Suman Muppidi, Joseph M. Brock, John W. Van Norman, Ian G. Clark

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


The Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research and Experiments (ASPIRE) project will investigate the supersonic deployment, inflation, and aerodynamics of DiskGap-Band (DGB) parachutes in the wake of a slender body. The parachutes will be full-scale versions of the DGBs used by the Mars Science Laboratory in 2012 and planned for NASA's Mars 2020 project and will be delivered to targeted deployment conditions representative of flight at Mars by sounding rockets launched out of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. The parachutes will be tested in the wake of a slender payload whose diameter is approximately a sixth that of entry capsules used for Mars missions. Models of the deployment, inflation, and aerodynamic performance of the parachutes are necessary to design key aspects of the experiment, including: determining the expected loads and applicable margins on the parachute and payload; guiding sensor selection and placement; evaluating the vehicle trajectory for targeting, range safety, and recovery operations. In addition, knowledge of the differences in the behavior of the parachutes in the wake of slender and blunt bodies is required in order to interpret the results of the sounding rocket experiment and determine how they relate to expected performance behind blunt bodies at Mars. However, modeling the performance of a supersonic DGB in the wake of a slender body is challenging due to the scarcity of historical test data and modeling precedents. This paper describes the models of the aerodynamic performance of DGBs in supersonic slender-body wakes being developed for the ASPIRE sounding rocket test campaign. Development of these models is based on the four available flight tests of DGBs deployed in supersonic slender-body wakes as well as on data from past flight and wind-tunnel experiments of DGBs deployed in the wake of blunt bodies, on the reconstructed at-Mars DGB performance during past missions, and on computational fluid dynamics simulations. Simulations of the wakes of blunt and slender bodies in supersonic flow have been conducted in order to investigate the differences in the flowfields encountered by parachutes deployed in both wake types. The simulations have allowed the project to investigate the fundamental differences between the sounding rocket tests and the flight of a DGB during a Mars mission and to assess the limitations of the sounding rocket test architecture for evaluating flight performance at Mars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2017 IEEE Aerospace Conference
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
ISBN (Electronic)9781509016136
StatePublished - Jun 7 2017
Event2017 IEEE Aerospace Conference, AERO 2017 - Big Sky, United States
Duration: Mar 4 2017Mar 11 2017

Publication series

NameIEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)1095-323X


Other2017 IEEE Aerospace Conference, AERO 2017
CountryUnited States
CityBig Sky

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The wind tunnel test at the LaRC TDT described here was funded by the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) under assessment 14-00932 and the LDSD Project.

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