The University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) is a graduate education and research institution located in Middle Tennessee adjacent to the U.S. Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center. UTSI was established in 1964 as part of the University of Tennessee and has become an internationally recognized institution for graduate study and research in engineering, physics, mathematics, and aviation systems and has made remarkable contributions at the local, state, national, and global levels.
In accordance with its mission, UTSI supports the Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) in maintaining “state of the art” expertise in both technical and managerial ranks. About 500 AEDC employees have earned graduate degrees at the Institute, including 40 doctorates. In addition, thousands have participated in the continuing education programs offered by UTSI. The faculty and students have worked on a variety of research and technology development projects with AEDC personnel. It has been acknowledged often by the leadership at AEDC that the educational support of UTSI is critical to AEDC in fulfilling its national mission for the Department of Defense, NASA, and the aerospace industry.
Research Labs and Centers
Hypersonic Vehicle Electric Power System - In 2002-2003 the Center for Laser Applications led the UTSI research program to help develop MHD generators for a new generation of high-speed Air Force vehicles. The generator would provide short bursts of high power electrical energy to supply laser or other beamed energy weapon systems. UTSI’s effort, part of a program led by General Atomics, focused on computational modeling of the MHD generator and sub-scale tests of MHD generators for validation of design codes. A gap in funding during the second half of FY03 and the first half of FY04 resulted in decreased activities during this time. However, FY04 and FY05 funding was received, and the project continues to operate under these funds. During the last year, (1) the combustion test facility flow field characterization was completed, and (2) the facility was prepared for the installation of a subscale MHD generator with superconducting magnet.
The HVEPS test program will be completed during the next fiscal year with the testing of a subscale MHD generator/superconducting magnet. Diagnostics utilized during combustor facility flow characterization and the upcoming MHD generator tests provide data to help validate an advanced 3D electromagnetic CFD code that can be used in analyzing the detailed physical behavior in a MHD generator. When validated, this code will be an invaluable tool in the future development of MHD generators.
Vertical EP Thruster - We are currently in the second year of a three-year effort to develop a vertical thrust stand under an AEDC Task Order. The primary objective of this research and development effort is to develop a vertical thrust stand for use in the AEDC 12V chamber. This thrust stand will provide AEDC customers the ability to make thrust measurements on various electric propulsion thrusters ranging in size from about 1 kW to about 50 kW. During the first year of the effort, funded under AEDC Task Order #03-01, the preliminary design for the thrust stand was completed. During the current reporting period, this design was refined and finalized. The purchase of materials and components for the thrust stand has begun. Fabrication of thrust stand components will begin in the near future. To minimize development costs, the data acquisition and control systems for the 12V thrust stand will be largely taken from a NASA Marshall thrust stand. Procurement of equipment and instrumentation for the thrust stand data acquisition and control systems is expected to begin in the near future.
Robert N. Moore, Executive Director
University of Tennessee Space Institute
411 B. H. Goethert Parkway, MS01
Tullahoma, TN 37388