, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 619-642

A survey of multidisciplinary design optimization methods in launch vehicle design

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Abstract

Optimal design of launch vehicles is a complex problem which requires the use of specific techniques called Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) methods. MDO methodologies are applied in various domains and are an interesting strategy to solve such an optimization problem. This paper surveys the different MDO methods and their applications to launch vehicle design. The paper is focused on the analysis of the launch vehicle design problem and brings out the advantages and the drawbacks of the main MDO methods in this specific problem. Some characteristics such as the robustness, the calculation costs, the flexibility, the convergence speed or the implementation difficulty are considered in order to determine the methods which are the most appropriate in the launch vehicle design framework. From this analysis, several ways of improvement of the MDO methods are proposed to take into account the specificities of the launch vehicle design problem in order to improve the efficiency of the optimization process.

The work presented in this paper is part of a CNES/ONERA PhD thesis attached to CNES’s HADES project (Help on Advanced launchers DESign).