Small Solid Propellant Launch Vehicle Mixed Design Optimization Approach


  • Fredy Marcell Villanueva Beihang University
  • Lee Linshu
  • Xu Dajun


Launch vehicle, Mixed design optimization, Solid propellant.


For a small country with limited research budget and lack of advanced space technology, it is imperative to find new approaches for the development of low-cost launch vehicles (LV), which is, among all possibilities, an interesting option for rapid access to space, focused on integration of acquired components complemented with indigenously developed subsystems. This approach requires the cooperation of developed countries with huge experience and knowledge in LV development and operations. The main objective is to develop a small three stage solid propellant LV capable of delivering a payload of 100 kg to a circular low earth orbit of 600 km altitude, with the first and second stage solid rocket motors (SRM) hypothetically acquired from different countries and the third one designed and produced domestically in accordance with the production and technological capability. This approach provides main advantages such as: reduction in total time to access the space and to master the basic knowledge of launch operations. For this purpose, an integer continuous genetic algorithm global optimization method was selected and implemented, the SRM characteristics of the first and second stage were considered as integer variables, whereas the design variables of the third stage SRM and the trajectory variable were considered as continuous. A multi discipline feasible (MDF) framework was implemented along with the propulsion, aerodynamic, mass and trajectory models. Despite their particular characteristics and constraints, the results show highly acceptable values, and the approach proved to be reliable for conceptual design level.

Author Biography

Fredy Marcell Villanueva, Beihang University

PhD student

School of Astronautics






Original Papers