The selection of an airborne platform for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is based not only on economic cost, but technical criteria, as well. Technical issues include aircraft fatigue, resonant characteristics of the cavity-port shear layer, aircraft stability, the drag penalty of the open telescope bay, and telescope performance. Recently, two versions of the Boeing 747 aircraft, viz., the -SP and -200 configurations, were evaluated by computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for their suitability as SOFIA platforms. In each configuration the telescope was mounted behind the wings in an open bay with nearly circular aperture. The geometry of the cavity, cavity aperture, and telescope was identical in both platforms. The aperture was located on the port side of the aircraft and the elevation angle of the telescope, measured with respect to the vertical axis, was 500. The unsteady, viscous, three-dimensional, aerodynamic and acoustic flow fields in the vicinity of SOFIA were simulated by an implicit, finite-difference Navier-Stokes flow solver (OVERFLOW) on a Chimera, overset grid system. The computational domain was discretized by structured grids. Computations were performed at wind-tunnel and flight Reynolds numbers corresponding to one free-stream flow condition (M = 0.85, angle of attack alpha = 2.50, and sideslip angle beta = 0 degrees). The computational domains consisted of twenty-nine(29) overset grids in the wind-tunnel simulations and forty-five(45) grids in the simulations run at cruise flight conditions. The maximum number of grid points in the simulations was approximately 4 x 10(exp 6). Issues considered in the evaluation study included analysis of the unsteady flow field in the cavity, the influence of the cavity on the flow across empennage surfaces, the drag penalty caused by the open telescope bay, and the noise radiating from cavity surfaces and the cavity-port shear layer. Wind-tunnel data were also available to compare to the CFD results; the data permitted an assessment of CFD as a design tool for the SOFIA program.
34th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit; 15-19 jAN. 1996; Reno, NV; United States