FSI modeling of the Orion spacecraft drogue parachutes

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    50 Citations (Scopus)


    The space–time fluid–structure interaction (STFSI) methods for parachute modeling are now capable of bringing reliable analysis to spacecraft parachutes, which pose formidable computational challenges. A number of special FSI methods targeting spacecraft parachutes complement the STFSI core computational technology in addressing these challenges. Until recently, these challenges were addressed for the Orion spacecraft main parachutes, which are the parachutes used for landing, and in the incompressible-flow regime, which is where the main parachutes operate. At higher altitudes the Orion spacecraft will rely on drogue parachutes. These parachutes have a ribbon construction, and in FSI modeling this creates geometric and flow complexities comparable to those encountered in FSI modeling of the main parachutes, which have a ringsail construction. Like the main parachutes, the drogue parachutes will be used in multiple stages—two reefed stages and a fully-open stage. A reefed stage is where a cable along the parachute skirt constrains the diameter to be less than the diameter in the subsequent stage. After a period of time during the descent at the reefed stage, the cable is cut and the parachute disreefs (i.e. expands) to the next stage. The reefed stages and disreefing involve computational challenges beyond those in FSI modeling of fully-open drogue parachutes. We present the special modeling techniques we devised to address the computational challenges and the results from the computations carried out. The flight envelope of the Orion drogue parachutes includes regions where the Mach number is high enough to require a compressible-flow solver. We present a preliminary fluid mechanics computation for such a case.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1167-1179
    Number of pages13
    JournalComputational Mechanics
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec 23


    • Compressible flow
    • Disreefing
    • Fluid–structure interaction
    • Orion spacecraft drogue parachutes
    • Reefed stages
    • Spacecraft parachutes

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Computational Theory and Mathematics
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Ocean Engineering
    • Applied Mathematics
    • Computational Mathematics

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