CFD Simulation of the Space Shuttle Launch Vehicle with Booster Separation Motor and Reaction Control System Plumes

  • L. M. Gea
  • D Vicker


The primary objective of this paper is to demonstrate the capability of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to simulate a very complicated flow field encountered during the space shuttle ascent. The flow field features nozzle plumes from booster separation motor (BSM) and reaction control system (RCS) jets with a supersonic incoming cross flow at speed of Mach 4. The overset Navier-Stokes code OVERFLOW [1], was used to simulate the flow field surrounding the entire space shuttle launch vehicle (SSLV) with high geometric fidelity. The variable gamma option was chosen due to the high temperature nature of nozzle flows and different plume species. CFD predicted Mach contours are in good agreement with the schlieren photos from wind tunnel test. Flow fields are discussed in detail and the results are used to support the debris analysis for the space shuttle Return To Flight (RTF) task.


Computational Fluid Dynamic Computational Fluid Dynamic Simulation Space Shuttle Wind Tunnel Test Oblique Shock 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. M. Gea
    • 1
  • D Vicker
    • 2
  1. 1.The Boeing CompanyHuntington Beach
  2. 2.EG3-Applied AeroscienceNASA Johnson Space CenterHouston

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