A Comparison of Modern and Historic Mass Estimating Relationships on a Two-Stage to Orbit Launch Vehicle
Rohrschneider, Reuben R.
Olds, John R.
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Traditionally mass estimation for conceptual design of advanced launch vehicles has depended on historically based mass estimating relationships (MERs). This paper compares the modern MERs used in the Space Systems Design Lab (SSDL) at Georgia Tech to the 1960s era relationships used in the NAS7-377 report on advanced propulsion design for launch vehicles. Comparisons of the weight breakdowns of a two-stage-to-orbit vehicle are made for between the Marquardt equations and the SSDL equations using two different technology assumptions. The first assumes 1970 technology for a direct comparison of the equations, while the second assumes 2015 technology. Additionally, technology and material advances are estimated in an attempt to justify the lower weight of the 2015 technology. The SSDL model using 1970 technology weighs in 7 percent heavier than the Marquardt equations for a comparable two-stage-to-orbit vehicle. When 2015 technology is applied to the same vehicle SSDL, equations show that a 33 percent savings, on the entire vehicle, could be made due to technology.