Charged Aerodynamics of Complex Objects

Current project

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Understanding the aerodynamic interaction between Low Earth Orbit (LEO) objects and the space environment is essential for enabling precise orbit determination and prediction capabilities necessary for future space traffic management systems. Recent research at UNSW Canberra has shown that the charged aerodynamic interaction between Low Earth Orbit (LEO) objects and the ionosphere (i.e. ionospheric aerodynamics) is neither negligible nor well understood.

State of the art ionospheric aerodynamic modelling techniques are computationally expensive, which restricts their application to simple (unrealistic) geometries. This project will develop novel computational methods for modelling the charged aerodynamic interaction of geometrically complex objects with the ionosphere and use the new capability to study ionospheric aerodynamics for complex (realistic) space objects. The research will advance the understanding of ionospheric aerodynamics and contribute to an improved force modelling capability to better predict the trajectory of satellites and space debris.


Dr Chris Capon
Dr Melrose Brown