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Reactive Flow and Heat Transfer Optimization for Reusable Spacecraft

One of Masten's recent pioneering space flight vehicle projects was to design a reusable aircraft designed to fly to the edge of space, the XS-1.

Masten Space Systems is a private company founded in 2004 headquartered in Mojave, California, USA by David Masten.

Masten’s focus on reusable rocket technology is driven by the goal of enabling space transportation and reliable planetary landers for the Earth, Moon, Mars, and beyond.

One of the new innovations in this effort is a full-scale additively manufactured aluminum thrust chamber assembly for the 25,000 lbf LOX/LCH4 dual expander propulsion system. The dual expander cycle offers an ideal cycle in this size range, enabling reusability, optimal closed-loop performance, and cost effective design and production price points.

CFD for the simulation, analysis and optimization of critical spacecraft components Masten Space Systems is using FINE™/Open with OpenLabs™, NUMECA’s unstructured multi-purpose CFD solver package, for the design and analysis of various elements of reusable spacecraft and lunar vehicles for the testing of thrust chambers. In this article we talk about the numerical studies of three of their aeronautical configurations.

Simulation of Plume Impingement and Thermal Load

For the testing of thrust chambers, Masten Space Systems had to determine the temperature on the impingement plate in order to avoid reaching critically high temperatures. To do this, they simulated the impact of a hot plume at multiple times the speed of sound and a temperature hotter than the melting temperature of steel on a plate by using an inert multi-species approach.

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