Case Study: Sentry

Thermal Protection System Analysis

SpaceWorks Software created an application designed to perform thermal protection system (TPS) material selection, sizing, and optimization. The application is named Sentry, and it offers a unique approach to conceptual design of TPS for reusable space transportation systems.

 Quick Facts

  • C++
  • Input/Output text files; No GUI
  • Wrapped and integrated for use in ModelCenter
Additional Details

Sentry performs a one-dimensional (1-D) unsteady heat transfer analysis with convection, conduction, and radiative effects and an adiabatic backface condition. The tool can examine an unlimited number of candidate TPS materials or "stackups" at each surface node with up to 10 material layers per stackup. For a given vehicle configuration, the tool will then determine the TPS requirements over the entire airframe, including the windward and leeward airframe surfaces, chines, wing(s), tail(s), vertical stabilizer(s), and aerodynamic control surfaces (e.g. body flap, ailerons). As each candidate stackup is evaluated at a particular vehicle surface node, Sentry will optimize the thickness of the scalable insulation material to achieve the minimum weight after factoring in the material properties, temperature limitations, and any manufacturing constraints (as specified by the user). On the vehicle's leading edges (e.g. wing, fuselage nose, etc.), Sentry will determine the stagnation point conditions for a range of representative geometries (e.g. spherical, cylindrical, swept cylinder, etc.) and select an appropriate material based on the surface temperatures experienced.