ANSYS first partnered with the Canadian team in 2002, offering a broad- range of structural simulation software tools that have helped the da Vinci Project in the development of the first privately funded, reusable spacecraft. These applications are essential tools used to substantially minimize costs and improve time-to-market for designers and engineers, and are still used by the da Vinci Project today, complementing the two new ANSYS additions.
"The da Vinci team has relied on ANSYS software for over a year now, so we were thrilled to implement the CFX and ANSYS ICEM CFD products," said Brian Feeney, team leader and pilot at the da Vinci Project. "With these additions, our team is working with some of the most comprehensive and advanced simulation tools available, enabling us to build our spacecraft from design to final-stage testing and performance validation. CFX is currently helping us evaluate external aerodynamics of the vehicle at subsonic and super-sonic speeds and the internal heat transfer in the fuel tanks and storage systems. Our engineers can do this all right from their desktops -- this provides us with a major edge on the competition."
The da Vinci Project began development of its vehicle shortly after the X PRIZE was announced in 1996, and the team officially entered the competition in 2000. To date, there have been two unmanned flight tests of the full-scale rocket propulsion system and flight qualification of the flight guidance system. Detailed engineering and fabrication of the manned rocket is ongoing. Flight-testing of the manned rocket is targeted for later this year.
"With our CFX foundation and skilled team in Waterloo, Canada, we were thrilled to become a part of the da Vinci project," said Chris Reid, vice president and general manager, fluids business unit at ANSYS, Inc. "Knowing that we're able to provide the CFD tools to help support this remarkable project is important to ANSYS CFX, as well as ANSYS as a whole because it represents much of what we stand for and builds upon the foundation that we've developed as a Canadian technology leader."
To win the $10 million X PRIZE, a spacecraft must be privately financed and constructed with the ability to fly three people into space. It also must be reusable, flying twice within a two-week period. The competition's goal, endorsed by leading space and aviation organizations around the world, is to jumpstart the commercialization of space, including space tourism. "ANSYS has felt a strong connection with the da Vinci Project since the beginning of our work together," said James E. Cashman III, president and chief executive officer at ANSYS, Inc. Both organizations share a similar vision -- to use technology and innovation to help make an impact on the future. "What's also exciting about this partnership is that we're able to leverage ANSYS' Canadian presence through the talented team we've acquired at CFX -- being able to provide this expanded set of tools right from CFX headquarters in Waterloo makes ANSYS' contribution to help build this generation of spacecraft uniquely special."