A method for simulating the atmospheric entry of long-range ballistic missiles

A. J. Eggers, Jr.

It is demonstrated with the aid of similitude arguments that a model launched from a hypervelocity gun upstream through a special supersonic nozzle should experience aerodynamic heating and resulting thermal stresses like those encountered by a long-range ballistic missile entering the earth's atmosphere. This demonstration hinges on the requirements that model and missile be geometrically similar and made of the same material, and that they have the same flight speed and Reynolds number (based on conditions just outside the boundary layer) at corresponding points in their trajectories. The hypervelocity gun provides the model with the required initial speed, while the nozzle scales the atmosphere, in terms of density variation, to provide the model with speeds and Reynolds numbers over its entire trajectory. Since both the motion and aerodynamic heating of a missile tend to be simulated in the model tests, this combination of hypervelocity gun and supersonic nozzle is termed an atmosphere entry simulator.

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