Launch Vehicle Aerodynamics
DURATION: THREE DAYS
COURSE NO.: 5040
The space launch industry is undergoing rapid change with the privatization of many government operated space activities,
commercialization and the growth of demand for satellites for communications, remote sensing, weather, etc. Competitive
pressures are requiring the launch industry to cut costs and improve products. Moreover, new concepts may be off the
drawing board within the next decade that will drastically alter the nature of space transportation. All these features require
that the vehicular aerodynamics be understood and incorporated into the overall design. This course reviews the development
of modern techniques in launch vehicle aerodynamics, elucidating features which are unique to launch vehicles. The state-of-
the-art in analytical, numerical and experimental methods are discussed. The benefits and limitations of each, and the
application of these methods at different stages of design are considered. Difficulties, problem areas and subtleties are
highlighted. A critique of the aerodynamics of various launch vehicles will be given.
Include extensive notes and reference materials.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND:
Theoretical aerodynamicists working with missiles and launch vehicles. Engineers involved in launch vehicle and missile design
and systems engineering. Wind tunnel testing professionals and CFD experts.
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN:
Understanding of aerodynamics in competitive design. Testing and analysis methods in different speed regimes. Lessons
learned from past failures and successes involving aerodynamics. Selection of different approaches advantages and limitations
of each. Design tradeoffs between aerodynamics and other considerations. Modern challenges in aerodynamics, including
airbreathing and SSTO/TSTO concepts.
Definitions and nomenclature. Why aerodynamics? Fundamental concepts of aerodynamics.
- Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics.
Hydrostatics and the atmosphere. Fluid dynamics. Potential flow. Dimensional analysis, similitude and scaling.
- Launch Vehicle and Missile Design.
Brief overview of vehicle flight profile. Multistage vehicles. Strap-on motors. Hammerhead designs. Control fins
and thrust vectoring. Packaging of missiles.
- Determination of Aerodynamic Coefficients (Incompressible, Subsonic, Transonic, Supersonic and Hypersonic Regimes).
Semi-empirical methods (Missile Datcom). Computational fluid dynamics: Euler and Navier-Stokes codes. Wind tunnel
testing. Pros and cons of each method.
- Problem Areas.
Overpressure at lift-off. Booster separation. Asymmetry. Flow interference. Vibration and shock interactions. Plume
interference. Aeroelastic behavior.
- New Developments.
Reusable vehicle designs. Winged boosters.
INSTRUCTOR: MARSHALL H. KAPLAN, Ph. D.,
Marshall H. Kaplan, Ph.D., is a recognized expert in launch vehicle systems design and engineering. He has participated in a
number of new launch vehicle developments and has served as Chief Engineer on a fully-reusable and an expendable launch
system. Dr. Kaplan is a member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology and
Test Program, and has trained organizations that have won launch system contracts for military and commercial applications.
He has over 35 years of academic and industrial experience, served as Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the Pennsylvania
State University, was the executive Director of a Space Research Institute, and has presented launch vehicle courses in the U.S.,
Europe and South America. In addition to publishing some 100 papers, reports, and articles on aerospace technologies, he is the
author of several books, including the internationally used text, Modern Spacecraft Dynamics and Control. Dr. Kaplan is a
member of the AIAA Technical Committee on Space Transportation and holds advanced degrees from MIT and Stanford University.