Our initiative is to investigate the idea of developing a rocket that can deploy a wind tunnel in high supersonic conditions. Typical supersonic wind tunnels are all ground based facilities that need to generate the conditions experienced at high speeds in order to conduct tests. These conditions can require temperatures on the order of 2000-3000 K, which is difficult and costly to maintain. On the other hand, rockets routinely encounter these flight conditions. If a rocket was designed with an inlet to take advantage of these conditions, it could cut down on the costs associated with high speed wind tunnel testing.
Wind tunnel testing is a crucial aspect for the design and development of high speed flight vehicles, even with the widespread use of advanced computer simulations such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD). However, some aspects of high-energy flows are difficult to simulate and model accurately with CFD, thus the need for physical testing. As more and more time and resources are poured into developing high speed flight vehicles by companies such as Virgin Galactic (suborbital spaceplanes) and Boom (supersonic airliners), the need for accurate engineering assessments for their designs is increasingly important.
Donations will be used to purchase testing equipment such as sensors and cameras to perform scaled tests of our concept.
The impact of our project could revolutionize the way we design supersonic aircraft, making high speed testing more accessible and cost-effective to perform.