Orion2

Windpower Engineering – Hypersizer takes 23% weight off NASA heat shield. What could it do for a turbine blade?

At the recent 2014 Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX) (previously SAMPE), Collier Research Corporation will demonstrate a key software program used to lightweight the heat shield of NASA’s Orion Multi-purpose Crew Vehicle—HyperSizer. NASA’s Orion team used information gathered from HyperSizer analyses to inform discussions that led to a 23% reduction of the final weight of the baseline design, which means hundreds of pounds of unnecessary weight were eliminated. The un-crewed test flight of the vehicle, Exploration Flight Test-1, is currently slated for December 2014. The final HyperSizer-designed heat shield will be used on later, manned flights.

(Left): The Orion Test Vehicle at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The circular heat shield is visible at the very base of the vehicle. (Image courtesy of NASA.) (Center): Collier Research Corp.’s, James Ainsworth, who will present at CAMX, inspects a curved orthogrid shield drop-test specimen. (Right) Close-up (upper left) shows detail of the titanium orthogrid that makes up the skin of the final NESC heat shield design (lower right).

(Left): The Orion Test Vehicle at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The circular heat shield is visible at the very base of the vehicle. (Image courtesy of NASA.) (Center): Collier Research Corp.’s, James Ainsworth, who will present at CAMX, inspects a curved orthogrid shield drop-test specimen. (Right) Close-up (upper left) shows detail of the titanium orthogrid that makes up the skin of the final NESC heat shield design (lower right).

James Ainsworth, aerospace stress engineer at Collier Research, presented a paper that gave an in-depth look at the design and analysis process, as well as the analytical methods used to perform trade studies of the Orion heat shield carrier structure.

HyperSizer, the first-ever software commercialized out of NASA, provides stress analysis and sizing optimization for reducing the weight of aircraft, wind turbine blades and other structures in addition to space vehicles—whether designed with composite or metallic materials. A typical HyperSizer analysis produces weight savings of between 25 and 40%.

“We’ve developed a software program for flight certification in the zero-tolerance environment of NASA,” says Craig Collier, president and founder of Collier Research Corporation. “We’ve continued to increase HyperSizer’s speed and robustness, while reducing necessary user input and creating a more flexible and open platform. This makes it ideal for small teams of engineers that need to guarantee the repeatability of results before production, and ensures they can do so in a short amount of time.”

Collier Research has added a U.S. distributor to their multinational network—Jim Jeans, president of Structural Design & Analysis, Inc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *