The effect of thermo-chemical nonequilibrium on the aerodynamics of aerobraking vehicles

Basil Nassan, Graham V. Candler, David R. Olynick

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

8 Scopus citations


A three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics algorithm is developed to study the effect of chemical and thermal nonequilibrium on blunt body aerodynamics. Both perfect gas and five species air reacting gas models are used to compute the flow over the Apollo Command Module. The reacting gas air mixture is assumed to be governed by a translational-rotational temperature and a vibrational temperature. The Navier-Stokes computations are compared to wind tunnel and flight aerodynamic data from the Apollo missions. The effects of chemical reaction and vibrational excitation on lift-to-drag ratio and trim angle are investigated. It is shown that including real gas effects results in a lower trim angle and L/D than predicted by non-reacting gas wind tunnel simulations. The reacting gas numerical results are consistent with flight data from the unmanned Apollo AS-202 mission, while the perfect gas computations agree with the wind tunnel results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA 27th Thermophysics Conference, 1992
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992
EventAIAA 27th Thermophysics Conference, 1992 - Nashville, United States
Duration: Jul 6 1992Jul 8 1992


OtherAIAA 27th Thermophysics Conference, 1992
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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