Atmospheric Flow at Alcantara Launch Center


  • Karine Klippel
  • Elisa Valentim Goulart
  • Gilberto Fisch
  • Bruno Furieri
  • Cayo Prado Fernandes Francisco
  • Neyval Costa Reis Junior


Atmospheric flow, Complex terrain, Coastal cliff, Computational fluid dynamics (CFD), Atmospheric turbulence, Rocket launching


The Alcantara Launch Center (ALC) is the main Brazilian access to space. It is positioned over a complex terrain, and it has some important buildings for assembling, integration and launching activities, such as the Mobile Integration Tower. Being in a region of prevalent trade winds, the flow interaction between the complex terrain and the buildings can affect the safety of operations on the platform, and the dispersion of toxic gases emitted during the launching. The main objective of this work was to study the influence of topography and buildings on the atmospheric flow of ALC using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques. Three geometries were considered: simplified terrain (case 1), smooth complex terrain(case 2), and roughness complex terrain (case 3). The flow conditions over ALC were simulated using the ANSYS Fluent 19.0 CFD commercial code. The numerical simulations used a realizable κ-ε to model turbulence effects and the results presented a good agreement with the in-situ field measurements for the most complex geometry (case 3). The topography clearly influences the flow pattern at ALC, with the cliff influence over the wind being the major cause for establishing the flow patterns.






Original Papers