Abstract : A numerical study has been carried out to investigate the full flow path and aerodynamic characteristics of a hypersonic vehicle at a 7.0 free stream Mach number.

Results indicate that the inlet started and unstarted operations have remarkable effects on the flow pattern of the full flow path.

When the inlet operates in a started mode, the transverse pressure gradient generated by the forebody alters the air captured characteristics and the entering flow quality of the inlet.

Furthermore, the expansion process of the nozzle jet flow is obviously affected by the external flow field around the afterbody with the cross section shape transiting from a near rectangle at the exit of the nozzle to a near triangle at the tail of the vehicle.

When the inlet operates in an unstarted mode, the aerodynamic instability can be observed in the full flow path of the vehicle.

Due to the oscillation of the external compressed shock wave and nozzle jet flow, the aerodynamic characteristics of the vehicle vary periodically with the lift-drag ratio changing from 0.25 to 2.09.

Finally, by comparing to the experimental data, the reliability of the CFD is verified.Keywords: hypersonic vehicle; full flow path; inlet start; inlet unstart; unsteady; lift-drag ratio.

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