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IXV (Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle) is a project funded by ESA, the European Space Agency. Since 2007, CFS Engineering has performed over 100 calculations on this topic, accounting for more than 25% of company revenues.
Because IXV is a very high speed vehicle, its, as-yet theoretical, re-entry into the earth's atmosphere would create a strong shock wave that would in turn strongly affect the stability of the vehicle. Using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), CFS Engineering is contributing to a better understanding of the aerodynamic and thermal phenomena involved in this high speed re-entry vehicle, critical factors for determining the best materials to be used in its construction.
As seen on the image to the left, CFD can provide crucial information, such as the shape and extent of a shock wave forming around the IXV upon re-entry into the earth's atmosphere.
To date, IXV simulations focus on shock capturing, modeling of flight conditions, turbulence, chemical and equilibrium effects, amongst others. The simulation below shows a high-temperature zone just below the nose tip of the vehicle.