Passenger safety is one of the main drivers for the development of future trans-atmospheric transportation systems. The high levels of energy associated hypersonic flights as well as the level of reliability of the enabling technology leads to the need of a passenger escape system in case of flight abort.
The implementation of a cabin escape system for a hypersonic aircraft is challenged by the integration within a larger structure, the load factors for the passengers, the ejection propulsion concept, the capability to withstand extreme thermal environment(plasma flow)and the adaptability to a wide range of abort scenario conditions (low and high speed and altitude).
This multi-phase nature of the return flight makes morphing an attractive solution for a hypersonic escape system. The abort scenarios cover a wide range of flight conditions and the integration within the mother spacecraft requires compact solutions in terms of shape (ex: capsule adapted to outer mold line). Thus a single shape cannot provide adequate performances and consequently it can be challenging (ex: load factors) for the wellness of the ordinary passengers expected in the cabin. The increase of the lifting capability after ejection of a escape capsule and the increase of aerodynamic control surfaces is a strong requirement in order to safely return to ground the crew – composed by non-trained persons.
The main goal of HYPMOCES is to investigate and develop the technologies in the area of control, structures, aerothermodynamics, mission and system required to enable the use of morphing in escape systems for hypersonic transport aircrafts. A large cabin escape system able to change its shape and automatically reconfigure during an abort event after ejection will balance the compromise between the constraints for the integration within the mother aircraft (compactness), the adaptability to the unpredicted environment in case of abort and the required flight performance to ensure safe landing.
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Funding SchemeCP-FP - Small or medium-scale focused research project