A reusable space vehicle design study exploring sharp leading edges

James Reuther, David Kinney, Stephen Smith, Dean Kontinos, Peter Gage, David Saunders

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

25 Scopus citations


A new Crew Transfer Vehicle (CTV) design study that compares the changes in vehicle performance and safety as a result of using a sharp-nosed configuration is presented. This paper represents an overview of work accomplished within a one-year research study. The primary objective of the study is to assess the potential impact on system performance that results from the introduction of a sharp nose. New vehicle analysis and design capabilities specific to sharp leading edge configurations were developed in the course of this effort. Two vehicles are compared that are designed explicitly to perform the same mission. The first design (HL-20) performs the crew transfer mission, to and from the International Space Station, by using a conventional blunt lifting body configuration. The second vehicle, newly designed in this work and designated SHARP-V5, uses a sharp-nosed design that employs Ultra-High Temperature Ceramics to withstand the severe heating conditions at the nose. Details of each vehicle including its mission capability are presented. Advantages and dis-advantages for each vehicle are shown. High fidelity analyses demonstrate the differences between vehicles during both the ascent and the entry phases of the mission. The preliminary results indicate that SHARP-V5 has significantly greater ascent abort safety and substantially increased cross-range during entry. This paper is an overview of the work, including newly developed tools. Greater detail is presented in four accompanying papers.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes
Event35th AIAA Thermophysics Conference 2001 - Anaheim, CA, United States
Duration: Jun 11 2001Jun 14 2001


Conference35th AIAA Thermophysics Conference 2001
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAnaheim, CA


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