Advanced Computational Center for Entry System Simulation (ACCESS)

AEM Professors Graham Candler, Tom Schwartzentruber, Joe Nichols and Math Professor Bernardo Cockburn are part of the $15 million multi-institutional leadership team on a newly funded NASA Space and Technology Research Institute initiative named Advanced Computational Center for Entry System Simulation, or ACCESS.

Entry, descent, and landing technologies must continue to improve to meet the challenges of placing large payloads on other worlds, such as Mars. Accurate modeling and simulation of atmospheric entry systems are critical for the design and planning of these missions.

The ACCESS institute will advance the analysis and design of NASA entry systems by developing a fully integrated, interdisciplinary simulation capability. ACCESS will focus on thermal protection systems, which protect spacecraft from aerodynamic heating, as well as prediction of the extreme environments experienced during entry. It will develop game-changing capabilities through the use of high-fidelity, validated physics models. This advancement will be enabled by innovative numerical algorithms, high-performance computing, and uncertainty quantification methods, with the goal of enabling computational entry system reliability assessments. 

The director of ACCESS is Iain Boyd at the University of Colorado. The other team leads on the project are Graham Candler at the University of Minnesota, Marco Panesi at the University of Illinois, and Alexandre Martin at the University of Kentucky. Also participating are researchers from the University of New Mexico.