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Published September 2021 | Published
Journal Article Open

Hypervelocity Spherically-Blunted Cone Flows in Mars Entry Ground Testing


Bow-shock standoff distances over sphere and spherically-blunted cone geometries were examined through experiments in two facilities capable of high-stagnation enthalpy hypersonic flows simulating Mars planetary entry conditions. High-speed and high-resolution schlieren images were obtained in the California Institute of Technology T5 reflected shock tunnel and the Hypervelocity Expansion Tube to examine facility independence of the measurements. Accompanying reacting Navier–Stokes simulations were carried out. A recently developed unified model for sphere and sphere–cone behavior was first verified for high-stagnation enthalpy CO₂ flows through simulations with thermal and chemical nonequilibrium. Shock standoff distance measurements in both facilities were found to be in good agreement with model predictions. The need to account for the divergence of the streamlines in conical nozzles was highlighted and an existing model extended to account for changes in shock curvature between parallel and conical flows. The contributions of vibrational and chemical nonequilibrium to the stagnation-line density profile were quantified using the simulation results comparing three chemical kinetic models.

Additional Information

© 2021 by California Institute of Technology. Published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc., with permission. Presented as Paper 2018-1721 at the 2018 AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, AIAA SciTech Forum, Kissimmee, FL, January 8–12, 2018; received 17 September 2020; revision received 17 January 2021; accepted for publication 18 March 2021; published online 27 July 2021. This work was supported in part by the NASA Space Technology Research Fellowships NNX14AM59H and NASA awards NNX14AO97A and NNX16AO55G. The authors gratefully acknowledge Hans Hornung and Joseph Shepherd at the California Institute of Technology; Brett Cruden, Dinesh Prabhu, Aaron Brandis, and Michael Barnhardt at NASA Ames Research Center; and Brian Hollis and Chris Johnston at NASA Langley Research Center for their valuable discussion and suggestions.

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August 20, 2023
October 23, 2023