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New Alternative Developed for Space Launch System Ignition Overpressure Suppression
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New Alternative Developed for Space Launch System Ignition Overpressure Suppression

A team led by Michael Khasin has developed an alternative for using water bags for suppression of the ignition overpressure wave for the Space Launch System (SLS). The water bags used in the Space Shuttle cannot be installed in the SLS due to the complexity of the exhaust hole geometry. The alternative is based on using aerosol sprays and is described in the paper “Mitigation of Solid Booster Ignition-Over-Pressure by Water Aerosol Sprays” submitted to the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets.

The team has developed a theory of generation of the ignition overpressure wave, which puts the following constraints on the design of water suppression system in the SLS:

  • The upper water jets should be placed sufficiently close to the solid rocket booster nozzle exit to minimize the magnitude of wave reflection from the jets.
  • Placing the water jets too close to the nozzle exit leads to a new hazard associated with the interaction of the plume, rather than the overpressure wave, with the water jets. This effect is investigated both analytically and numerically.

BACKGROUND: Ignition overpressure is a transient phenomenon, where an overpressure wave is formed in the exhaust hole of a rocket during motor ignition. The wave can potentially damage the vehicle, and various means to knock down the overpressure have been invented and implemented for the Shuttle, including a water suppression system. The SLS is different from the Shuttle in many respects, which affects the dynamics and efficiency of the suppression of the overpressure wave.

TEAM: Halina Hafiychuk, Michael Khasin, Marina Marchenko, and Slava Osipov

CUSTOMER: Garry Lyles, SLS Chief Engineer

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Space Launch System (SLS) program, Exploration Systems Development (ESD), Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)

Contact: Michael Khasin

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