Review Article

Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization

, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 619-642

First online:

A survey of multidisciplinary design optimization methods in launch vehicle design

  • Mathieu BalesdentAffiliated withOnera – The French Aerospace LabCNES, Launchers DirectorateEcole Centrale de Nantes, IRCCyN Email author 
  • , Nicolas BérendAffiliated withOnera – The French Aerospace Lab
  • , Philippe DépincéAffiliated withEcole Centrale de Nantes, IRCCyN
  • , Abdelhamid ChrietteAffiliated withEcole Centrale de Nantes, IRCCyN

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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.


Multidisciplinary design optimization Launch vehicle design MDO Multi-objective optimization Distributed optimization Space transport system design Multi-criteria optimization Optimal control