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Space shuttle wing design

Asked by: 3750 views Aerodynamics, Airspace, Commercial Pilot, FAA Regulations, Flight Instructor, Student Pilot

Why shuttle wing is cranked delta with 81 degree and 45 deg swept back. And how a think wing leading edge avoids formation of normal shock wave over the wing. 

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2 Answers

  1. Nathan Parker on Oct 09, 2012

    Normal shock waves form when the airflow changes from subsonic to supersonic. The space shuttle typically resides entirely within supersonic airflow, so normal shockwaves will not form. Unlike a transport category aircraft, whose wings are swept to delay the formation of normal shockwaves, the space shuttle’s wing is swept so that the wing will remain within the mach cone that forms ahead of the aircraft in supersonic flight.

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  2. rizwan on Nov 06, 2012

    Nathan Parker.. can u furthur explain m still not clear about how there is no shock wave (normal)? and why they have two sweep angles of 81 degree at innner leading edge and 45 degree at outer leading edge. why not to have a simple delta design?

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