Accelerate Aerospace Design Innovation with NASA’s CFD Simulation Applications on Rescale

Rescale streamlines access to NASA's CFD software, empowering aerospace engineers to innovate. Maximize efficiency and scalability with Rescale to drive aerospace projects from concept to completion.

Easily Secure, Deploy, and Scale NASA Software with Rescale

NASA shares many of its technological innovations with the public for societal benefit and economic growth. Hundreds of applications, including computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software like NASA FUN3D, OVERFLOW, and Cart3D, are offered for free as U.S. Release Only to accelerate aerospace innovation. The applications scale exceptionally well on public cloud infrastructure. However, running U.S. Release Only applications in the cloud requires approval from NASA. Organizations can obtain NASA’s approval to run the applications on Rescale’s FedRAMP-authorized, ITAR-compliant cloud HPC platform. Rescale’s automated platform is the easiest way to securely deploy NASA applications in the cloud on the latest hardware architectures at any scale, on demand, in just a few clicks. This article will dive deeper into the benefits of NASA applications with Rescale and help you learn how to get started.   

NASA Offers Technologies to Accelerate Aerospace Innovation

The mission of the NASA Technology Transfer Program is to facilitate the transfer of NASA’s cutting-edge technologies and innovations to benefit society, spur economic growth, and drive technological progress. By collaborating with industry, academia, and other government agencies, the program aims to maximize the impact of NASA’s research and development efforts by ensuring that innovations are accessible to the public and commercial sectors. Through partnerships, licensing agreements, and other mechanisms, the program enables the commercialization and utilization of NASA-developed technologies across various fields, from aerospace and transportation to healthcare and energy.

As part of the program, NASA offers hundreds of applications available for free in NASA’s Software Catalog. The catalog includes CFD and other computational engineering applications popular with organizations building the next generation of aerospace technologies. Three highly utilized NASA CFD applications on the Rescale platform include NASA FUN3D, OVERFLOW, and Cart3D.

In this image, a concept for a six-passenger quadcopter is run through a computer simulation 
using NASA OVERFLOW to visualize the interaction of airflow among the four rotors.
Image Credit: NASA / Patricia Ventura Diaz


NASA FUN3D (Fully Unstructured Navier-Stokes Three-Dimensional) is CFD software that can efficiently handle complex geometries with its fully unstructured meshing approach. This approach allows for greater flexibility and accuracy in modeling real-world engineering problems, particularly in aerospace applications where intricate geometries are common. Additionally, FUN3D incorporates advanced numerical methods and turbulence models, enabling it to accurately simulate a wide range of flow regimes, from subsonic to hypersonic speeds.


NASA OVERFLOW (Overset Grid Flow) features innovative overset grid technology. This technology allows for the simulation of flow around complex geometries by utilizing multiple overlapping grids, providing a high degree of grid generation and refinement flexibility. This feature makes OVERFLOW adept at handling moving parts, flow interactions, and complex geometries commonly encountered in aerospace applications. Moreover, OVERFLOW accurately captures a wide range of flow phenomena, including shock waves, boundary layer separation, and vortex shedding. Its advanced turbulence models and numerical methods ensure precise predictions across various flow regimes, from low-speed to high-speed flows.


NASA Cart3D utilizes a Cartesian mesh approach tailored specifically for aerodynamic analysis. Unlike traditional meshing methods, Cart3D simplifies the mesh generation process by employing a Cartesian grid, which provides a structured framework for discretizing the computational domain. This approach offers several advantages, including ease of grid generation, adaptability to complex geometries, and efficient computation. Cart3D’s capability to accurately predict inviscid flow around airfoils and wings makes it an invaluable tool for aerospace engineers in aerodynamic design optimization and performance analysis from subsonic to supersonic speed flows.

Maximize Innovation Potential with NASA Software on Rescale

Powerful software needs a powerful platform that makes it easy to immediately deploy and optimize on the latest computing hardware architectures to maximize its potential to drive innovation. That’s where Rescale helps. For NASA-authorized software users approved to run their software on Rescale, it’s an easy four-step process to run CFD analyses once users log into Rescale’s FedRAMP-authorized Government edition cloud R&D platform with enhanced security, controls, and ITAR compliance out-of-the-box.

In Rescale’s incredibly easy and intuitive user interface, it’s as simple as:

Step 1: Upload your input files (the model)

Step 2: Select the desired NASA software and version*

Step 3: Choose your cloud hardware and number of cores

Step 4: Click Submit

*NASA approval is required before Rescale can enable software in a user’s account.

That’s it. Once the Submit button is clicked, the Rescale platform automatically validates input files, builds the cluster, deploys the pre-compiled software, runs the analyses, saves the output files from the completed simulation, and shuts down the cluster. Jobs and results can be downloaded, conveniently tagged with metadata for advanced knowledge management, and shared with other Rescale users in a user’s organizational workspace for team and cross-functional collaboration. 

NASA CFD applications can run on an enormous scale and efficiently utilize tens of thousands of concurrent CPU cores or multi-node GPUs (currently applicable to FUN3D only) in the cloud to minimize analysis time. Organizations can reinvest the resources saved using NASA’s free software into a larger-scale or parallelized computing infrastructure on Rescale to run analyses faster. With Rescale, users only pay for cloud resources on demand when they are consumed. 

Rescale offers 100s of Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA CPU and GPU-accelerated corteypes from hyperscalers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), and specialty cloud providers like CoreWeave and Vultr. Currently, NASA has a process to approve the usage of its CFD applications on Rescale within AWS GovCloud and Azure Government regions only.

With all the options available on Rescale, how do users choose the optimal approved hardware to run NASA’s CFA applications? Rescale’s Performance Profiles feature simplifies and automates the selection of optimal hardware architectures for NASA CFD simulations based on specific applications and models.

The Rescale Performance Profiles feature is shown to illustrate the performance and cost profile of NASA FUN3D on multiple cloud hardware options on Rescale.

Get Started with NASA Software on Rescale

Many NASA software applications like FUN3D, OVERFLOW, and Cart3D are offered as “U.S. Release Only,” meaning they’re available only to authorized U.S. commercial and individual users, including citizens and lawful permanent residents, qualified organizations, and other government agencies. NASA has established a simple process to approve Rescale for its qualified U.S. Release Only software users. 

Here are the steps to request a new or updated Software Usage Agreement with approval to run on Rescale from NASA’s Software Release Authority.

  1. Search for the desired application in the NASA Software Catalog.
  2. If you have an existing Software Usage Agreement for that application, contact the Software Release Authority and request an updated version that includes Rescale approval.
  3. If you do not have a Software Usage Agreement, select the “Request Software” button on the site page of the desired application and fill out the online form to complete the request.
  4. Ask for a Software Usage Agreement that includes approval to run on Rescale when contacted by the NASA Software Release Authority.

After you sign the appropriate Software Usage Agreement and receive NASA’s approval to run on Rescale, you can provide Rescale with the software and have it enabled on your account.

Contact Rescale’s cloud R&D experts anytime for help getting started with NASA software on Rescale. Sign up for a free trial of Rescale with NASA software (may require an approved Software Usage Agreement)


  • Kevin Cangemi

    Kevin Cangemi is a Principal on the Strategic Partnerships & Alliances team at Rescale. He leads strategic new ecosystem development programs like AI/ML for R&D at Rescale, and he manages strategic technology and go-to-market partnerships across Rescale's Independent Software Vendor, Cloud Service Providers, and Semiconductor partner ecosystems. Prior to joining Rescale, Kevin led business development, M&A, corporate strategy, and strategic finance for ecommerce companies. Kevin earned an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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