case studyNASAA Safer Landing for the Orion Crew ModuleThe Orion Crew Module houses NASA astronauts during space travel an...
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Altair ProductDesign Case Study - Orion Crew Module Water Landing Simulation for NASA

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An overview of water landing simulation work carried out on the Orion Crew Module for NASA - A case study from Altair ProductDesign

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Altair ProductDesign Case Study - Orion Crew Module Water Landing Simulation for NASA

  1. 1. case studyNASAA Safer Landing for the Orion Crew ModuleThe Orion Crew Module houses NASA astronauts during space travel and allows them to safely descend backto Earth from orbit after mission completion. The structural design of the module considered various loadingconditions such as liftoff, launch abort, re-entry and impact landing. It was determined that one of the largestloading conditions impacting the structure of the Crew Module was an Earth water landing which is a highlycomplex and dynamic event. In order to maintain structural integrity and increase safety of the astronaut crew, amore clear understanding of the dynamic loads generated during water impact was required.solutionThe NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) collaborated with Altair ProductDesign to establish a clearunderstanding of the specific modeling methods needed to perform dynamic simulations of the module during awater landing. In order to ensure that any simulation of the landing accurately matched the real world event, alimited amount of physical testing was required. NASA fabricated a full scale module and fitted it with various datacollection devices before conducting a total of sixteen physical tests from varying impact angles and velocities.Using Altair’s own HyperWorks virtual simulation suite, Altair ProductDesign built an accurate finite elementmodel of the module from CAD data supplied by NASA, as well as a section of water and air which matched theconditions from the lake used during the physical tests. The effect on the module’s structure during impact wassimulated to gauge how well the results correlated with the physical tests.resultThe results showed excellent correlation between the simulation and physical tests, identifying areas where themodel, input parameters and meshing methods could be improved to give a more accurate prediction of theevent. A mesh sensitivity study revealed that the mesh size ratios of the Crew Module to the fluid were vital inobtaining a good correlation. The findings from the study will prove invaluable to provide accurate simulationdata for the rest of this ongoing project. With a tried and tested simulation methodology, NASA can be confidentthat the simulation results from future development activities are an accurate representation of real world impactbehavior, thus allowing for the development of improved landing safety systems.www.altairproductdesign.com A division of

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