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AIAA Journal

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Fluid mechanics -- Research -- United States, Reduced gravity environments -- Fluid dynamics, Capillary flow


This year marks the 55th anniversary of the first fluid physics experiment performed aboard a spacecraft during the Mercury-Atlas 7 mission. Since then, NASA has conducted over 80 fluids physics experiments aboard a variety of spacecraft, many of which have enhanced the understanding of large-length-scale capillary phenomena relevant to liquid management in the weightless state. As both celebration and demonstration, the Mercury-Atlas 7 fluids experiment is revisited in light of the current understanding of large-length-scale capillary fluidics. Employing a modern numerical tool, a rich variety of experimental outcomes are discovered that were not observed during the flight experiment. Interestingly, experimental support for these “newly computed” outcomes draws from 54-year-old drop-tower data collected by the original NASA investigator team. A direction forward for advanced tankage design is highlighted in summary.


To the best of our knowledge, this work was authored as part of the Contributor's official duties as an Employee of the United States Government therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 105.



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