Robust multi-disciplinary design and optimisation of a reusable launch vehicle

Wuilbercq, Romain and Pescetelli, Fabrizio and Mogavero, Alessandro and Minisci, Edmondo and Brown, Richard (2014) Robust multi-disciplinary design and optimisation of a reusable launch vehicle. In: 19TH AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference, 2014-06-16 - 2014-06-20, Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

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    Abstract

    For various technical reasons, no fully reusable launch vehicle has ever been successfully constructed or operated. Nonetheless, a range of reusable hypersonic vehicles is currently being considered as a viable alternative to the expensive but more conventional expendable rocket systems that are currently being used to gain access to space. This paper presents a methodology that has been developed for the rapid and efficient preliminary design of such vehicles. The methodology that is presented uses multi-disciplinary design optimization coupled with an integrated set of reduced-order models to estimate the characteristics of the vehicle's aero-thermodynamic, propulsion, thermal protection and internal system architecture, as well as to estimate its overall mass. In the present work, the methodology has been applied to the multi-disciplinary modelling and optimization of a reusable hybrid rocket- and ramjet-powered launch vehicle during both the ascent and re-entry phases of its mission.