At the Holloman High-Speed Test Track (HHSTT), momentum exchange with water is used to decelerate sleds from very high speeds (> Mach 1). This process, at the HHSTT, is called ‘water braking’. Improving the prediction capabilities of water braking phenomena has the potential to result in radical changes in the designs of sleds, improve rocket sled velocity-time test profile predictions, provide greater confidence of braking mechanisms, and decrease risk in the recovery of critical infrastructures. Understanding the water?s behavior with the sled is critical to predicting how the water could damage the sled, which affects the recoverability of the sled and can determine the success of a mission. Traditionally, sled design for the test missions for water braking has been guided by empirical/hand calculations to estimate the forces on various components. The calculations involved various approximations in arriving at the force balance law and predicting the acceleration/deceleration profile. In partnership with the HHSTT, we performed preliminary simulations to develop a predictive model for the HHSTT sled tests at various velocity regimes. The (preliminary) CFD results from different geometry configurations for the sled and modeling parameters will be presented.

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