Table of Contents
Journal of Thermodynamics
Volume 2011, Article ID 857061, 13 pages
Research Article

Aerodynamic Analysis of a Manned Space Vehicle for Missions to Mars

1Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Aerothermodynamics Division, Centro Italiano Ricerche Aerospaziali (CIRA), Via Maiorise, 81043 Capua, Italy
2Dipartimento di Ingegneria Aerospaziale e Meccanica (DIAM), Seconda Università di Napoli (SUN), Via Roma 29, 81031 Aversa, Italy

Received 3 November 2010; Accepted 7 January 2011

Academic Editor: L. De Goey

Copyright © 2011 Giuseppe Pezzella and Antonio Viviani. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The paper deals with the aerodynamic analysis of a manned braking system entering the Mars atmosphere with the aim to support planetary entry system design studies. The exploration vehicle is an axisymmetric blunt body close to the Apollo capsule. Several fully three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics analyses have been performed to address the capsule aerodynamic performance. To this end, a wide range of flow conditions including reacting and nonreacting flow, different angles of attack, and Mach numbers have been investigated and compared. Moreover, nonequilibrium effects on the flow field around the entry vehicle have also been investigated. Results show that real-gas effects, for all the angles of attack considered, increase both the aerodynamic drag and pitching moment whereas the lift is only slighted affected. Finally, results comparisons highlight that experimental and CFD aerodynamic findings available for the Apollo capsule in air adequately represent the static coefficients of the capsule in the Mars atmosphere.