- Rodi's design changed the configuration of the aircraft so that the shock wave passed along the front rounded edge of the vessel and turned it from a destructive force into a creative force.
- The new glider can be used as transport to Mars.
- It also has a military application.
Patrick E. Rodi from Rice University came up with a solution for an aircraft to be able to ride a shock wave and use its power for good instead of fighting it. Dr. Rodi worked in the aerospace industry for 23 years specializing in high speed aerodynamics, aerothermodynamics, and vehicle design, most recently as a Lockheed Martin Fellow and as the AeroSciences Lead on the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle program. Currently, he is a a Professor in Practice at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Rice University.
William Marsh Rice University, commonly known as Rice University, is a private research university in Houston, Texas. The university is situated on a 300-acre campus near the Houston Museum District and is adjacent to the Texas Medical Center.
The use of hypersonic aircraft shock wave power was supposed to be presented at the Aeronautics and Astronautics Conference in Montreal. It is postponed due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
The AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference provides a forum for the discussion and exchange of information for attendees from across the globe about leading-edge research and development activities associated with space planes and hypersonic atmospheric flight vehicles and the technologies underpinning these capabilities.
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The analysis examined the waverider forebody geometry and freestream conditions on engine performance, with emphasis on volumetric efficiency and vehicle range. According to the abstract:
Design cases were selected by considering the physical limitations of initiating and sustaining a detonation wave. The greatest pressure recovery, and therefore the greatest installed engine performance, was observed at small waverider cone angles and convex forebody profiles. Engine performance was found to improve with increasing Mach number, but propellant autoignition temperature limits might present a barrier to operation at freestream Mach numbers above 3.5. These limits were eased, and performance increased, at higher dynamic pressures of operation. Mass-independent range metrics were observed to be insensitive to freestream parameters.
Dr. Rodi’s design changed the configuration of the aircraft so that the shock wave passed along the front rounded edge of the vessel and turned from a destructive force into a creative force. The rear part of the device was designed by the engineer in the form of glider wings. The resulting hybrid will “surf” on its own shock wave at supersonic speed.
Additionally, the Shockwave Glider can be also used as a guided warhead carrier. Its trajectory cannot be quickly calculated, which means that the hybrid will become a seriously formidable weapon. Therefore, it has a versatile application.
Dr. Rodi says his invention is based on inspiration for a landing on Mars. It coincides with the new NASA strategy that was published this month to build a mobile habitable platform. The platform will accommodate voyages lasting up to 45 days. It is expected the lunar base will become a springboard for the preparation of the landing on Mars. It is quite possible to use the proposed Shockwave Glider technology for this.
The supersonic capsule “with the wind” will roll the first colonizers over the surface of the cherished planet.
This new technology could be quite useful for NASA and its future plans.