The importance of low CD0 to an accelerator vehicle leads to the need for low drag forebodies which nonetheless avoid excessive length. Spatulate planforms may then result, with sharp unswept leading edges which intensify the highspeed heating problem. Passive and active means of cooling such bodies are studied, and some practicalities of spatulates are assessed.
The theoretical background to the drag of spatular nose shapes is discussed in the papers "Minimum Drag Bodies of Given Length and Base using Newtonian Theory"and "Hypersonic minimum drag forebodies with blunt leading edges".
AIAA papers can be obtained from http://arc.aiaa.org., see also.
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Last amended: Nov 2013