Aerothermodynamic design and analysis of spacecraft and their components
In the Spacecraft Department, we develop, qualify and apply numerical and experimental tools and methods for the complete aerodynamic and aerothermal design and characterization of aerospace vehicles and their components during all phases of a mission.
Our numerical prediction methods cover all flow regimes relevant to space flight: they can be used to compute flows from hypersonic to low subsonic speeds, from dense supercritical fluids to highly rarefied gas flows. Tailored to the degree of fidelity required, these tools range from engineering pre-design methods and semi-empirical approaches to the high-end DLR CFD solvers TAU and CODA, capable of modelling high enthalpy flows, combustion processes and multi-phase thermodynamics for the multidisciplinary design, analysis and optimization of aerospace vehicles.
Experiments in our DLR large-scale test facilities, such as the high enthalpy channel or the simulation facilities for propellant jets for chemical and electric engines in Göttingen, complement our numerical work. At the DLR site in Trauen we operate a test bed for hybrid rocket engines (solid fuel and liquid oxidant) and for engines using hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) as fuel. The H2O2 infrastructure is unique in Germany.
Any assumptions made in developing a numerical model, or unavoidable restrictions in the laboratory, are ultimately put to test in a realistic application. We thus strive to complement our numerical and experimental research and development by conducting dedicated flight experiments. By skillfully applying and continuously improving our three interdependent design tools, namely computational fluid dynamics, ground based testing and flight experiments, we accomplish our objectives and are recognized as a distinguished partner of many research institutions DLR institutes, as well as industrial partners and agencies and research institutions across the globe.
Main research topics