Concept and Aerodynamic Improvement of Paragliders for Spacecraft Recovery 620333
Studies indicate that paragliders may provide lightweight, controllable re-entry vehicles suitable for spacecraft recovery. During entry, the light wing loadings available with this concept result in peak radiation-equilibrium temperatures below the temperature limits of existing materials, thus eliminating the need for heavy ablative heat protection systems. After atmospheric re-entry, this concept provides controlled glide to a preselected landing site, and the capability of landing with very low touchdown velocities.
Aerodynamic analysis of the parawing reveals lift/drag penalties due to poor wing-twist and camber distributions. A subsonic wing improvement program is described and significant improvements in lift/drag are illustrated.