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Multidisciplinary Design Optimization of Reusable Launch Vehicles for Different Propellants and Objectives

Dresia, Kai and Jentzsch, Simon and Waxenegger-Wilfing, Günther and Dos Santos Hahn, Robson Henrique and Deeken, Jan and Oschwald, Michael and Mota, Fabio (2021) Multidisciplinary Design Optimization of Reusable Launch Vehicles for Different Propellants and Objectives. Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, pp. 1-13. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). doi: 10.2514/1.A34944. ISSN 0022-4650.

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Official URL: https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/10.2514/1.A34944


Identifying the optimal design of a new launch vehicle is most important because design decisions made in the early development phase limit the later performance of the vehicles and determine the associated costs. Reusing the first stage via retropropulsive landing increases the complexity even more. Therefore, an optimization framework for partially reusable launch vehicles is developed, which enables multidisciplinary design studies. The framework contains suitable mass estimates of all essential subsstems and a routine to calculate the needed propellant for the ascent and landing maneuvers. For design optimization, the framework can be coupled with a genetic algorithm. The overall goal was to reveal the implications of different propellant combinations and objective functions on the optimal design of the launcher for various mission scenarios. The results show that the optimization objective influences the most suitable propellant choice and the overall launcher design, concerning staging, weight, size, and rocket engine parameters. In terms of gross lift-off weight, liquid hydrogen seems to be favorable. When optimizing for a minimum structural mass or an expendable structural mass, hydrocarbon-based solutions show better results. Finally, launch vehicles using a hydrocarbon fuel in the first stage and liquid hydrogen in the upper stage are an appealing alternative, combining the benefits of both fuels.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/141082/
Document Type:Article
Title:Multidisciplinary Design Optimization of Reusable Launch Vehicles for Different Propellants and Objectives
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Dresia, KaiUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-3229-5184UNSPECIFIED
Waxenegger-Wilfing, GüntherUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-5381-6431UNSPECIFIED
Dos Santos Hahn, Robson HenriqueUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-2389-2043UNSPECIFIED
Deeken, JanUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-5714-8845UNSPECIFIED
Oschwald, MichaelUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-9579-9825UNSPECIFIED
Date:16 January 2021
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 1-13
Publisher:American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
Keywords:reusability, multidisciplinary design optimization, liquid rocket engines
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Transportation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R RP - Space Transportation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Reusable Space Systems and Propulsion Technology
Location: Lampoldshausen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Space Propulsion > Rocket Propulsion
Deposited By: Dresia, Kai
Deposited On:23 Feb 2021 08:02
Last Modified:24 May 2022 23:46

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