Flow analysis of hammerhead launcher geometries in the transonic regime

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Hammerhead launcher configurations, characterized by a larger diameter in the payload fairing than the rest of the launch vehicle, face substantial challenges during transonic operations due to their susceptibility to flow separation and intense pressure fluctuations. This experimental study investigates the influence of the nose and boat-tail geometry on the flow around hammerhead configurations in the transonic regime (Ma=0.7-0.8) and for various angles of attack (α=0-4°). To gain a general understanding of the main flow features, such as shockwave formation, separated flow in the boat tail region, and flow reattachment, oil flow and schlieren visualizations were employed. Schlieren visualizations were also utilized to characterize the level of unsteadiness in these regions. Additionally, particle image velocimetry (PIV) was employed to quantify variations in the velocity field. The study's findings reveal an optimization of flow performance in the presence of a bi-conic nose, attributed to the creation of two-shockwave structures with relatively low intensity. This is in contrast to the ogive and conic noses, which exhibit a single, more detrimental shockwave structure (with the conic nose being the least favorable configuration). The investigation into different boat tail angles indicates that adopting low-angle boat tails (5° and 15° compared to 34°) leads to a noticeable reduction in the separated area, albeit associated with an increase in the range of oscillation of the shockwave structures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the AIAA SCITECH 2024 Forum
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc. (AIAA)
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-62410-711-5
Publication statusPublished - 2024
EventAIAA SCITECH 2024 Forum - Orlando, United States
Duration: 8 Jan 202412 Jan 2024


ConferenceAIAA SCITECH 2024 Forum
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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