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Measurements of Pressure Distribution and Thermal Loads on the Flaps of the NASA X-38 Demonstrator

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  • Institut Für Strömungsmechanik
  • Institut Für Entwurfsaerodynamik


Subject of the present paper is the wind tunnel testing campaign in the DNW Ludwieg Tube facility Göttingen (RWG) for determination of heat loads and pressure distribution in the flap region of the NASA/ESA/DLR X-38 re-entry vehicle. Measurements have been performed at M = 6, alpha = 40°, Re = 2.1 x 8.8 x 10 Million for laminar, transitional and fully turbulent flow conditions. Liquid crystal thermography performed on a rapid prototyping model allows an overview of the thermal surface distribution. Simultaneous Navier-Stokes simulations with the DLR code CEVCATS-N show good agreement in the pressure distribution, but the heat loads are strongly influenced by boundary layer transition.

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