Measurements of the flying target’s dynamic parameters is of growing interest for space scientists and army researchers. As flying target velocities increase, the study of heat exchange dynamics between the projectile and its environment is one of the indexes for assessing the performances of materials for the fabrication of bombs and cannons, as well as thermal protection systems used by planetary-entry and Earth-return missions. One of the challenges in ballistic heat transfer studies is the measurements of projectile surface temperature. Temperature is one of the critical parameters used in the design of projectile materials and shapes. While there are a significant number of numerical codes which predict projectile surface temperatures for a variety of conditions, relatively little experimental data has been produced for the purpose of verifying these numerical predictions. In this work, a Telops infrared camera mounted to a trajectory tracker was used to track a space re-entry probe at supersonic velocities and measure its in-flight heat transfer with the surrounding atmosphere. Physical phenomena such as shock waves were successfully captured by the IR camera and the interaction between the probe and the shock waves was studied. The unique features of Telops IR cameras make them well-suited investigation tools to bring ballistic tracking and research to the next level.

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