Propulsion system operation is known to affect the aerodynamic characteristics of rockets. Specifically, the net axial force acting on a rocket in flight cannot be precisely obtained by combining the static thrust with drag values computed for a rocket with an inactive motor. One of the main reasons for this is the influence of motor operation on pressure at the base of the rocket. The aim of this paper is to investigate the effect of motor operation on the aerodynamic parameters of the Grot sounding rocket developed by the Students’ Space Association, Warsaw University of Technology. The study consists of two series of axisymmetrical computational fluid dynamic simulations of flow around the rocket – one with the motor being non-operational and the other with active thrust. In the post-processing phase, the axial force acting on various components of the rocket is computed, with an emphasis on the base and nozzle exit sections. Quantitative and qualitative differences between the cases with and without active thrust are highlighted and discussed. The obtained results are compared to a semi-empirical model found in the literature. Finally, a semi-empirical base drag model is proposed for use in Grot flight simulation.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Engineering, Introductions and Overviews, other, Geosciences, Materials Sciences, Physics