Successful completion of our Phase I effort results in an automated, robust, and rapid aircraft drag optimization method (called HeldenDesign) that is an integral part of our vision to revolutionize the aircraft analysis and design process. HeldenDesign couples NASA’s CDISC knowledge-based design method with an optimization wrapper that automatically varies the inputs to CDISC to enable drag-based optimization. In addition, HeldenDesign simplifies and streamlines the setup of new optimization cases and adds a robust mesh movement capability (through the HeldenMorph toolset that is also developed under our Phase I effort) that solves many of the problems encountered during CFD-based design. The goal of HeldenDesign is to enable rapid and easy to use drag-based optimizations of new aircraft for conceptual, preliminary, and detailed design. We plan to follow this initial effort with a Phase II effort to identify and prioritize the HeldenDesign development effort required for commercialization of the product in follow-on phases. For example, one possible enhancement would be to develop a multi-point design capability within HeldenDesign capable of evaluating a design at multiple flight conditions. This would give HeldenDesign the ability to ensure best performance is achieved over a range of flight conditions. Future phases could also evaluate the incorporation of NASA’s PREDISC graphical pre/post processor design functionality into the HeldenTool graphical user interface (GUI) currently being developed under a NASA Phase III SBIR.
The successful completion of this Phase I effort supports all NASA programs and projects that use CFD for advanced aircraft concept design, launch vehicle design, and planetary entry vehicles. The technology developed under this project will enable design decisions by Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) and Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD).
Helden Aerospace has already successfully transitioned its existing HeldenMesh commercial grid generator to industry. The completion of this Phase I effort would further improve the CFD toolset through drag-based optimization with rapid knowledge-based design methods. This effort results in a product with strong commercial viability as there is a significant need for this capability in industry.