An Innovative Approach to Integrated Thermal Protection Systems and Structures for Advanced Hypervelocity Vehicles
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Engineering Pgm Mgr
Engineering Pgm Mgr
AbstractReusable launch vehicles currently being designed by the United States Air Force and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration require innovative structural components that are both light weight and able to withstand the severe thermal environmentsof reentry without time consuming and expensive refurbishment prior to the next flight. This project will investigate combining state-of-the-art thermal protection materials and advanced composite manufacturing techniques to produce a viable lightweightcandidate airframe that can survive severe reentry environments while enabling rapid turn around of the vehicle with minimal maintenance. While the primary focus of this investigation is on flight environments likely to be encountered by the USAF's SpaceManeuver Vehicle, the lessons learned in thermal protection system (TPS) fabrication, structural integration, weight reduction, maintainability, and producibility will be applicable across a wide range of military and commercial applications. Anassessment will be made of the potential for application of the integrated TPS technology developed to the needs of ballistic missile interceptor programs. In particular, an evaluation will be made of potential avenues toward supporting the ability offuture BMDO systems to address the need for more robust, lightweight ballistic missile interceptor airframes than current methods allow.More robust, lightweight airframes that can be economically manufactured for advanced hypervelocity vehicles. Theselight weight, low cost airframes will be capable of withstanding severe thermal environments without time consuming and expensive refurbishment prior to the next flight and are applicable to reusable launch vehicles and, potentially, to ballistic missileinterceptors that have all or part of their battlespace within the atmosphere.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.