A review of planetary-entry gas dynamics is presented. Evolution of a blunt-body flowfield from a free molecular flow environment to a continuum environment is described. Simulations of near-wake flow phenomena, important for defining aerobrake payload environments, are also discussed. Some topics to be highlighted include aerodynamic coefficient predictions with emphasis on high-temperature gas effects; surface heating and temperature predictions for thermal protection system (TPS) design in a high-temperature, thermochemical nonequilibrium environment; and thermochemical models required for numerical flow simulation. Recent applications involving atmospheric entry into Jupiter (Galileo), Mars (Pathfinder and Global Surveyor), and a planned mission in which dust from the tail of a comet will be returned to Earth (Stardust) will provide context for this discussion.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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