Thermal response of Space Shuttle wing during reentry heating


A structural performance and resizing (SPAR) finite element thermal analysis computer program was used in the heat transfer analysis of the space shuttle orbiter that was subjected to reentry aerodynamic heatings. One wing segment of the right wing (WS 240) and the whole left wing were selected for the thermal analysis. Results showed that the predicted thermal protection system (TPS) temperatures were in good agreement with the space transportation system, trajectory 5 (STS-5) flight-measured temperatures. In addition, calculated aluminum structural temperatures were in fairly good agreement with the flight data up to the point of touchdown. Results also showed that the internal free convection had a considerable effect on the change of structural temperatures after touchdown

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