Waterhammer modeling for the Ares I Upper Stage Reaction Control System cold flow development test article
Williams, J. Hunter
CommitteeThompson, S. David
The Upper Stage Reaction Control System provides in-flight three-axis attitude control for the Ares I Upper Stage. The system design must accommodate rapid thruster firing to maintain proper launch trajectory and thus allow for the possibility to pulse multiple thrusters simultaneously. Rapid thruster valve closure creates an increase in static pressure, known as waterhammer, which propagates throughout the propellant system at pressures exceeding nominal design values. A series of development tests conducted at Marshall Space Flight Center in 2009 were performed using a water-flow test article to better understand fluid characteristics of the Upper Stage Reaction Control System. A subset of the tests examined the waterhammer pressure and frequency response in the flight-representative system and provided data to anchor numerical models. This thesis presents a comparison of waterhammer test results with numerical model and analytical results. An overview of the flight system, test article, modeling and analysis are also provided.