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C HAPTER 8 M ULTISTAGE R OCKETS

With current technology and fuels and without greatly increasing the effective by air-

I sp

breathing, a single stage rocket to orbit is still not possible. So it is still necessary to reach orbit using a multistage system where a certain fraction of the vehicle mass is dropped off after use thus allowing the non-payload mass carried to orbit to be as small as possible.

n stage launch system is the sum of the velocity gains from each

The nal velocity of an stage.

V n

=

! v

1

+

! v

2

+

! v

3

+

………

+

! v n

(8.1)

The performance of an

tural mass, propellant mass and speci c impulse of each of the n stages.

n -stage system can be optimized by proper selection of the struc-

8.1

N OTATION

Let the index

pellant parameters of the system are as follows.

i

refer to the ith stage of an

n

stage launch system.The structural and pro-

M 0i

- The total initial mass of the ith stage prior to ring including the payload mass,

ie, the mass of i, i+1, i+2, i+3,

, n stages.

M

pi

- The mass of propellant in the ith stage.

M

and instrumentation as well as any residual propellant which is not expended by the end of the burn.

- Structural mass of the ith stage alone including the mass of its engine, controllers

si

M L

Analysis

8.2

A NALYSIS

The gure below schematically shows a three stage rocket at each stage of ight. M L
M S3
M P3
M
S2
M
P2
M S1
M P1
M 01

De ne the following variables M
L
M
L
M
S3
M
S3
M
P3
M
P3
M
S2
M
03
M
P2

M 02

 " i = " = n Structural coef ﬁ cient # i =

M 0 ( i + 1 )

----------------------------------------

M 0i

M 0 ( i + 1 )

M 0 ( n + 1 )

------------------------------------------ =

M 0n

M 0 ( n + 1 )

M Si

---------------------------------------- =

M 0i

M 0 ( i + 1 )

-------------------------- M L

M L

M 0n

M Si

----------------------------

M Pi

M Si

+

(8.2)

(8.3)

The variational problem

Mass ratio

R i

M 0i

---------------------------

= =

M 0i

M Pi

Ideal velocity increment

1

+

"

i

-----------------

+

# i

" i

V n

=

n n

\$

i

=

1

C i ln R

i =

\$ C i

i

=

1

)

ln '

%

1

+ "

i

-----------------

#

i

+ " i

*

(

&

+

=

=

)

'

%

M L

----------

M 01

)

'

%

M

----------

M

01

02

* )

(

'

& %

M

----------

M

02

03

* )

(

'

& %

"

M

----------

M

03

04

* ……

(

&

)

'

%

L

-----------

M

0n

"

n

-----------------

1

+

"

n

M

=

+

* )

1

(

'

"

1

& %

"

+

* )

2

(

'

"

2

& %

"

+

3

"

3

* ……

(

&

)

'

%

-----------------

1

-----------------

1

-----------------

1

*

(

&

*

(

&

(8.4)

(8.5)

(8.6)

Take the logarithm of (8.6) to express the payload fraction as a sum in terms of the payload ratios.

ln +

n

= \$

i

=

1

)

ln '

%

" i

---------------

" i

1

+

*

(

&

(8.7)

8.3 T HE VARIATIONAL PROBLEM

The structural coefcients, and effective exhaust velocities, , are known constants

# i

C i

based on some prior choice of propellants and structural design for each stage. The question is: how should we distribute the total mass of the vehicle among the various stages? In other

words, given

fraction, . It turns out that the opposite statement leads to equivalent results; namely given

, choose the distribution of stage masses so as to maximize the payload

V n

+

+ maximize the nal velocity,

V n

.

The mathematical problem is to maximize

ln +

=

G

( " 1 ,,, " 2 " 3

…… "

,

n

)

(8.8)

for xed

V n

=

F

( " 1 ,,, " 2 " 3

…… "

,

n

)

(8.9)

The variational problem

or, equivalently, maximize (8.9) for xed (8.8). The approach is to vary the payload ratios,

( " 1 ,,, " 2 " 3

…… "

,

n

will not change

G

.

)

so as to maximize

, G

=

)

%

- G

--------

-" i

+

. Near a maximum, a small change in the

"

i

*

&

," i

=

0

(8.10)

The basic idea is shown schematically below.

G

0 - G ) * ------- % -" & = ," 2 , G + 1 --- 2 ) ' % G ---------- -" 2 - * & (

( ," ) 2

.

"

( ," ) 2

Figure 8.1 Variation of

G near a maximum

The

," i

are not independent, they must be chosen so that

, F

=

)

%

F

-

--------

-" i

*

&

," i

=

0

V n

is kept constant

(8.11)

Thus only n 1

choose

are,

," i

of the can be treated as independent. Without loss of generality let’s

"

n

to be determined in terms of the other payload ratios. The sums (8.10) and (8.11)

n

1

\$

i

n

1

1

=

\$

i

=

1

)

%

)

%

G

--------

-" i

-

F

-

--------

-" i

*

&

*

&

," i

," i

+

+

)

%

)

%

-

G

---------

-" n

F

-

---------

-" n

*

&

*

&

,"

n

,"

n

=

=

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

/

(8.12)

The variational problem

Use the second sum in (8.12) to replace

where

n 1

\$

1

i =

6

5

4

)

%

3

- G

--------

-" i

*

&

+

=

)

%

"

n

in the rst.

1

---

F

)

%

-

--------

3 -" i

- F

---------

-" n

*

&

*

&

)

%

2

1

/

," i

- G

---------

-" n

*

&

 = 0 (8.13) (8.14)

plays the role of a Lagrange multiplier. Since the equality (8.13) must hold for arbitrary

," i

, the coefcients in brackets must be individually zero.

)

%

- G

--------

-" i

*

&

+

1

- F 3 -" i

---

)

%

--------

*

&

=

0

;

i

=

1, 2, … , n 1

(8.15)

From the de nition of

3

given by (8.14)

)

%

- G

---------

-" n

*

&

+

1

---

F

)

%

-

---------

3 -" n

*

&

=

0

(8.16)

We now have

n + 1

equations in the

n + 1

unknowns

(

" 1 ,,, " 2 " 3

…… "

,

n

, 3 )

.

 ) % - G -------- -" i * & + 1 - F 3 -" i --- ) % -------- * & = n 0 ; i = 1, 2, … , n ) ln ' % 1 + " * V n = \$ C i i ----------------- # i + " i ( & i = 1 F and G

(8.17)

If we supply the expressions for ratios is

in (8.17), the result for the optimal set of payload

" i

3# i

= ----------------------------------------

3 }

{

C

i

C

i

#

i

The Lagrange multiplier is determined from the expression for

V n

(8.18)

V n

=

n

\$

=

i

1

C i

)

ln '

%

C

----------------

i

#

i

3

C

i

*

(

&

(8.19)

Example - exhaust velocity and structural coefficient the same for all stages

Note that

3 has units of velocity. Finally, the optimum overall payload fraction is,

ln +

=

n

\$

=

i

1

)

ln '

%

3#

i

*

(

&

--------------------------------------------------

C

i

#

i

C

i

3

+

3#

i

(8.20)

8.4 EXAMPLE - EXHAUST VELOCITY AND STRUCTURAL COEFFI-

CIENT THE SAME FOR ALL STAGES

Let

C

=

C

i

and

#

=

#

i

be the same for all stages. In this case,

and the mass ratio is

3

+

=

"

=

C

=

)

'

'

%

1

# e

)

%

V

n

-------

nC

*

&

)

%

# e

V

-------

n

nC

*

&

1

---------------------------

e

)

%

V

n

-------

nC

*

&

1

)

'

'

'

'

%

1

# e

)

%

V

n

-------

nC

*

&

--------------------------------

(

1

# ) e

)

%

V

-------

n

nC

*

&

*

(

(

&

,

* n

(

(

(

(

&

(8.21)

(8.22)

(8.23)

e

)

%

V

n

-------

nC

*

&

(8.24)

Consider a liquid oxygen, kerosene system. Take the speci c impulse to be 360 sec imply-

ing

coefcient is

needed to reach orbital speed. The structural

. The stage design results

R

=

C

=

3528

M/sec. Let

0.1

V n

=

9077

# =

and let the number of stages be

n

=

3

 are 3 = 2696 M/sec, " = 0.563 , R = 2.3575 and the payload fraction is + = 0.047 (8.25)

Less than 5% of the overall mass of the vehicle is payload.

Problems

It is of interest to see how much better we can do by increasing the number of stages in this problem. Equation (8.23) is plotted below using the parameters of the problem.

+

0.05

0.04

0.03

0.02

0.01 2
3
4
5
6

number of stages

Note that beyond three stages, there is very little increase in payload. Note also that one

stage cannot make orbit even with zero payload for the assumed value of

# .

8.5

PROBLEMS

Problem 1 - A two stage rocket is to be used to put a payload of 1000kg into low earth orbit. The vehicle will be launched from Kennedy Space Center where the speed of rotation of the Earth is 427 M/sec. Assume gravitational velocity losses of about 1200M/sec and aerodynamic velocity losses of 500M/sec. The rst stage burns Kerosene and Oxygen pro- ducing a mean speci c impulse of 320 seconds averaged over the ight, while the upper stage burns Hydrogen and Oxygen with an average speci c impulse of 450 seconds. The structural coefcient of the rst stage is 0.05 and that of the second is 0.07. Determine the payload ratios and the total mass of the vehicle. Suppose the same vehicle is to be used to launch a satellite into a north-south orbit from Kodiak island in Alaska. How does the mass of the payload change?

Problem 2 - A group of universities join together to launch a four stage rocket with a small payload to the Moon. The fourth stage needs to reach the earth escape velocity of 11,176 M/sec. The vehicle will be launched from Kennedy Space Center where the speed of rota- tion of the Earth is 427 M/sec. Assume gravitational velocity losses of about 1500M/sec and aerodynamic velocity losses of 600M/sec. To keep cost down four stages with the same

Problems

# are used. Each stage burns Kero-

sene and Oxygen producing a mean speci c impulse of 330 seconds averaged over each

segment of the ight. The structural coefcient of each stage is payload ratio (if any).

Problem 3 - A low-cost four stage rocket is to be used to launch small payload to orbit. The concept proposed for the system utilizes propellants that are safe and cheap but provide a speci c impulse of only 200 seconds. All four stages are identical. What structural efciency is required to reach orbit with a nite payload?

effective exhaust velocity

C and structural coefcient

#

=

0.1 . Determine the