Rapid simultaneous hypersonic aerodynamic and trajectory optimization for conceptual design
Grant, Michael James
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Traditionally, the design of complex aerospace systems requires iteration among segregated disciplines such as aerodynamic modeling and trajectory optimization. Multidisciplinary design optimization algorithms have been developed to efficiently orchestrate the interaction among these disciplines during the design process. For example, vehicle capability is generally obtained through sequential iteration among vehicle shape, aerodynamic performance, and trajectory optimization routines in which aerodynamic performance is obtained from large pre-computed tables that are a function of angle of attack, sideslip, and flight conditions. This numerical approach segregates advancements in vehicle shape design from advancements in trajectory optimization. This investigation advances the state-of-the-art in conceptual hypersonic aerodynamic analysis and trajectory optimization by removing the source of iteration between aerodynamic and trajectory analyses and capitalizing on fundamental linkages across hypersonic solutions. Analytic aerodynamic relations, like those derived in this investigation, are possible in any flow regime in which the flowfield can be accurately described analytically. These relations eliminate the large aerodynamic tables that contribute to the segregation of disciplinary advancements. Within the limits of Newtonian flow theory, many of the analytic expressions derived in this investigation provide exact solutions that eliminate the computational error of approximate methods widely used today while simultaneously improving computational performance. To address the mathematical limit of analytic solutions, additional relations are developed that fundamentally alter the manner in which Newtonian aerodynamics are calculated. The resulting aerodynamic expressions provide an analytic mapping of vehicle shape to trajectory performance. This analytic mapping collapses the traditional, segregated design environment into a single, unified, mathematical framework which enables fast, specialized trajectory optimization methods to be extended to also include vehicle shape. A rapid trajectory optimization methodology suitable for this new, mathematically integrated design environment is also developed by relying on the continuation of solutions found via indirect methods. Examples demonstrate that families of optimal hypersonic trajectories can be quickly constructed for varying trajectory parameters, vehicle shapes, atmospheric properties, and gravity models to support design space exploration, trade studies, and vehicle requirements definition. These results validate the hypothesis that many hypersonic trajectory solutions are connected through fast indirect optimization methods. The extension of this trajectory optimization methodology to include vehicle shape through the development of analytic hypersonic aerodynamic relations enables the construction of a unified mathematical framework to perform rapid, simultaneous hypersonic aerodynamic and trajectory optimization. Performance comparisons relative to state-of-the-art methodologies illustrate the computational advantages of this new, unified design environment.