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Propulsion spatiale & écoulements à grande vitesse

Contexte de la recherche et objectifs

This topic encompasses two kinds of closely related activities, namely rocket and spacecraft propulsion on the one hand and high-speed flights in upper layers of planetary atmospheres on the other hand.

The first activity concerns the development of chemical engines for launchers and ion thrusters for satellites and space probes. The second one covers hypersonic aircraft and supersonic flight of capsules during entry stage in atmosphere of e.g. the Earth, Mars and Titan.

Experimental works are carried out in dedicated ground-based test-chambers, which form a singular facility set within Europe. The PIVOINE chamber with cryogenic pumping system is employed for electric propulsion studies.

An ensemble of large wind-tunnels with cold gas jet as well as high-enthalpy flows allow reentry and flow control studies. Besides, several high performance numerical tools have been developed such as 3D Euler and Navier-Stokes codes for reactive compressible flows and a 3D code for linear stability analysis of a laminar-turbulent boundary layer.