Shock Tunnel Free-Flyer Launch Mechanism

Anindo Basu


While there has been a significant amount of research conducted on hypersonic flow over planetary re-entry vehicles in the last 50 years, relatively few experimental investigations of the base flow of hypersonic vehicles have been conducted. This has occurred mainly because of measurement difficulties introduced by support interference. A free flyer launch mechanism is a simple, inexpensive device that achieves interference-free model ‘flight’ enabling investigation of the base flow region. In 2007, an interference-free model release mechanism was successfully deployed in the T-ADFA shock tunnel. The mechanism described here improves on the previous design by creating superior methods for model launch, arm withdrawal and angle of attack selection. This mechanism has been designed, implemented and tested and has achieved its goal of providing a more reliable, controllable and consistent free flyer mechanism. This has been achieved by dividing the mechanism into sub-systems, and designing each sub-system separately.


Hypersonics; Free flight;

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