Investigation of the Performance Characteristics of Re-Entry Vehicles
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSONAFB OH
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When a non-US spacecraft reenters the Earths atmosphere, having the ability to accurately determine its performance characteristics is a primary concern. This study investigated the atmospheric re-entry profiles of a maneuverable re-entry vehicle. The re-entry vehicle was modeled as a point mass with aerodynamic properties. Equations of motion were numerically integrated, giving the time histories of position, velocity and flight path angle. The algorithm is able to generate a complete and feasible entry trajectory of a approximately 25-minute flight time in about 5 to 10 seconds on a desktop computer, given the entry conditions and values of constraint parameters. This preliminary study shows the feasibility of identifying and further exploring the technical challenges involved in using a mathemathical model to simulate the performance characteristics of the maneuvering re-entry vehicle.
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