Combined Cycle Propulsion Integration
The two main objectives of this proposal are to refine the combined cycle engine capabilities in GHIs design tool, Eco, and to flight test a combined cycle powered vehicle concept designed for flight in the Mach 0-4 range. Tools will be created to permit high-fidelity conceptual designs, including viscous CFD-based optimization of the propulsive ducts and vehicle flowlines. Our team will use these tools to design and study a suitable TBCC combined cycle vehicle concept based on AF mission objectives. A scaled down version of this flowpath will be designed and flight test vehicles will be fabricated utilizing rapid prototyping techniques and COTS components. The configuration will be vertically launched using COTS solid high-power rocket motors to propel the vehicle through transonic-to-low-supersonic speeds. A suitable turbine engine or simulator (gas generator or back pressure) will be selected/designed using COTS micro gas turbine or rocket motor parts. Tests will consist of two campaigns; first with a micro-scale vehicle to validate stability and overall system operation, the second, a sub-scale vehicle design of approximately 5-6 feet in length, focusing on the study of the TBCC internal duct geometry with a highly instrumented flowpath. BENEFIT: The immediate strategy for the commercial use of TBCC design and flight test capabilities would be to market the use of them in upcoming DARPA and Air Force scramjet design programs. These capabilities may create the opportunity to compete in future government and industry hypersonic vehicle development programs, allowing GHI to offer unique configurational capabilities and methodologies utilizing well defined, high performing combined cycle scramjet engines in the conceptual and preliminary design phases of a program. Development of design/fabrication/flight test capability will enable GHI to market this approach/capability to test other engines in the US community (support FALCON, Blackswift, future programs, etc.). This is similar to current Australian capabilities and how they lead to the collaboration with the USAF HiFiRE, DARPA HyCAUSE, and other launch programs.
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