NASA is windtunnel testing a 419mm (16.5in) model of the Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV), Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), and launch abort system stack in its Alabama-based Marshall Space Flight Center’s Aerodynamic Research Facility for guidance, navigation and control data.
As well as configuration the model simulates the full take-off load of the vehicle, to aid studies of its in-flight stability. Testing is being performed over supersonic speeds of Mach 0.5 to M4.96 in the 355mm wide, 1,219mm-long tunnel. The vehicle would likely achieve M4 within 2min of flight. Visualisation tests are also being conducted to monitor shock waves and component expansions during the supersonic period.
Two weeks of work began in December and now a total of 66 tests have been completed. Larger vehicle models will be used in testing in the second and third quarters of this year at NASA’s Langley Research Center and Ames Research Center in Virginia and California respectively.