BOLT II PROJECT ADVANCES HYPERSONICS RESEARCH
The BOLT II flight experiment launched in March 2022 from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
The goal of the Air Force Research Laboratory/Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFRL/AFOSR) flight experiment was to collect scientific data to better understand Boundary Layer Transition (BOLT) and Turbulence (BOLT II) during hypersonic flight.
The two-stage suborbital sounding rocket successfully flew the planned flight path and Technical Directorate: AFOSR – Air Force Office of Scientific Research Technology Vignettes – Discovery acquired tremendous scientific data to further understanding of boundary layer transition, turbulent heating and drag at hypersonic conditions. Team members from AFRL’s Aerospace System’s Directorate ensured the lab was able to successfully collect the data needed from the experiment.
Similar to the BOLT I program, BOLT II included a symbiotic trio of wind tunnel testing, highfidelity computations and a flight experiment but also provided the first-ever full-scale ground testing of the flight geometry.
The wind tunnel and computational data acquired during the BOLT II project informed the design and placement of over 400 sensors to capture correlations needed to, in turn, improve and validate boundary layer turbulence models.
BOLT II exemplifies just how AFRL/AFOSR continues to discover, shape and champion bold, high-risk, high-reward basic research for the United States Air Force and Space Force.