Aerodynamic Characterization of Debris Fragments

Period of Performance: 02/14/2008 - 08/14/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Andrews Space, Inc.
3415 South 116th Street, Suite 123
Tukwila, WA 98168
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


The problem of debris propagation and impact location has been studied since the formation of the Missile Defense Agency because accurate prediction of where and with what probability the fragments created during an intercept will impact the ground is crucial to the determination of possible collateral damage. The Kinetic Impact Debris Distribution (KIDD) fragmentation model provides a tool for predicting the post-intercept behavior these fragments. However, the KIDD model is limited by the extent to which the aerodynamic characteristics of the debris are quantified. Andrews Space proposes the development of a surrogate-based debris aerodynamics model, drawing on empirical data, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and statistical principles to quantify the lift and drag characteristics of irregularly shaped fragments during both the subsonic and important high-Q phases of flight. This model will be based on 1) a careful statistical classification of actual debris based on physical characteristics, 2) the development of a family of debris surrogates from this classification, 3) the analytical (CFD) modeling of these surrogates to validate their applicability and behavior in different flight regimes, and 4) the collection of wind tunnel data (during a Phase-II follow-on) to benchmark the aerodynamic characteristics of the surrogates.