With the aim of placing Europe among the world’s space players in the strategic area of atmospheric re-entry, several studies on experimental vehicle concepts and improvements of critical re-entry technologies have paved the way for the flight of an experimental spacecraft. The Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV), under ESA’s Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP), is the step forward from the successful Atmospheric Re-entry Demonstrator flight in 1998, establishing Europe’s role in this field.
The IXV project objectives are the design, development, manufacture and ground and flight verification of an autonomous European lifting and aerodynamically controlled re-entry system.
The design of re-entry spacecraft requires the prediction of the aerthermodynamic characteristics for high altitude / high velocity conditions which cannot be duplicated in ground facilities.
A strategy based on wind tunnel testing and CFD simulations is used to reduce uncertainties related to the extrapolation of on wind tunnel and CFD data to flight conditions.
This paper presents the general strategy used, based on the ONERA S4ma (cold flow), F4 high enthalpy facilities as well as CFD code from RTECH, CFSe and Dassault Aviation. The main results are discussed with emphasis on the pre-flight uncertainties for IXV application.

The MISTRAL flow solver developed by RTECH has been used to perform the numerical rebuilding of the experiments.
MISTRAL is able to perform the necessary computations assuming either perfect gas, thermo- chemical equilibrium gas, or thermo-chemical non- equilibrium gas chemistry. While being originally developed for high speed flows, it can currently handle flows from subsonic to hypersonic flows.

Paper : IAC-13_D2.6_5x17026

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