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Rocket Staging

Exercise 2

2 Rocket Staging

2.1 Ariane 5 Thrust

Initially at lift-off of an ARIANE 5 launch vehicle two P230 solid propellant boosters plus the main Vulcain engine

are ignited. The two different components of the launch vehicle have the following characteristics:

v∗,P 230 = 2355 m/s

Mass flows:

ṁP 230,booster = 1835 kg/s

Compute the average effective exhaust velocity for the propulsion system as a whole and from this also the average

specific impulse.

Now we have parallel staging. The two boosters and the main engine are running simultaneously. Our total thrust

can easily be combined adding up the three thrust sources:

k

X

F∗,tot = ṁp,i · v∗,i

i=1

F∗,tot = ṁV ulcain · v∗,V ulcain + 2 · ṁP 230 · v∗,P 230 = 9, 480, 525 N

For the average ISP we add the three mass flows to find the total mass flow

With this mass flow we can compute the average v∗ and ISP

F∗,tot

v∗,avg = = 2415.42 m/s

ṁtot

ISP,avg = 246.22 s

Institute of Astronautics Dipl.-Ing. R. Purschke

Boltzmannstr. 15 Room: Mw 2616

D-85748 Garching Phone.: 089/289-16029

www.lrt.mw.tum.de Email: r.purschke@tum.de

Institute of Astronautics

Spacecraft Technology I - WS1011

Rocket Staging

Exercise 2

Calculate the gain in total ∆v of using the three-staged rocket (parameters below) to a simple single stage to orbit

(SSTO) rocket (using a standard structural factor and the maximal v∗ of the three-stager). The payload mass that

has to be put into orbit is 800 kg.

ms,1 = 5 t

mp,1 = 40 t

ms,2 = 1 t

mp,2 = 10 t

ms,3 = 0.2 t

mp,3 = 1 t

v∗,1 = 2300 m/s

v∗,2 = 2500 m/s

v∗,3 = 2900 m/s

To compute the total ∆v of the rocket we have to find the individual εi and λi for each stage (1,2,3). To do this

we are writing down the correct masses following the definitions in the lecture. The total launch mass m0,1 was

calculated by adding up all partial masses.

1st stage:

m0,1 = 58 t

def

mL,1 = m0,1 − mp,1 − ms,1 = 13 t = m0,2

2nd stage:

m0,2 = 13 t

def

mL,2 = m0,2 − mp,2 − ms,2 = 2 t = m0,3

3rd stage:

m0,3 = 2 t

With these masses we can compute the structural factor and the payload factor of each stage

1st stage:

ms,1

ε1 = = 0.11

m0,1 − mL,1

Institute of Astronautics Dipl.-Ing. R. Purschke

Boltzmannstr. 15 Room: Mw 2616

D-85748 Garching Phone.: 089/289-16029

www.lrt.mw.tum.de Email: r.purschke@tum.de

Institute of Astronautics

Spacecraft Technology I - WS1011

Rocket Staging

Exercise 2

mL,1

λ1 = = 0.288

m0,1 − mL,1

2nd stage:

ms,2

ε2 = = 0.09

m0,2 − mL,2

mL,2

λ2 = = 0.181

m0,2 − mL,2

3rd stage:

ms,3

ε3 = = 0.16

m0,3 − mL,3

mL,3

λ3 = = 0.666

m0,3 − mL,3

To verify these results we compare the total payload factor λ∗ using two different equations. The first equation

gives a total payload factor of

mL,3 0.8 t

λ∗ = = = 0.0137

m0,1 58 t

The second way to compute this value is to use the values of the three different stages

3

Y λi 0.288 0.181 0.666

λ∗ = = · · = 0.0137

i=1

1 + λi 1 + 0.288 1 + 0.181 1 + 0.666

Now we can use the propulsion capability equation for multiple staged rockets that is given in the formulary. This

equation sums up all three ∆v’s.

3

X 1 + λi

∆v3−Stager = v∗,i · ln

i=1

εi + λ i

1 + λ1 1 + λ2 1 + λ3

∆v3−Stager = v∗,1 · ln + v∗,2 · ln + v∗,3 · ln

ε1 + λ1 ε2 + λ2 ε3 + λ3

No as we know the ∆v maximum for the three stage rocket we have to compute the SSTO value. For this case we

assume a standard structural factor of 10% and the maximal v∗ of the three-stager. We have to use the same liftoff

mass of 58 t and the same payload mass of 800 kg. This leads to the same total payload factor

mL,3 0.8 t

λ = λ∗ = = = 0.0137

m0,1 58 t

1+λ 1 + 0.0137

∆vSST O = v∗,max · ln = 2900 m/s · ln = 6344 m/s

ε+λ 0.1 + 0.0137

Institute of Astronautics Dipl.-Ing. R. Purschke

Boltzmannstr. 15 Room: Mw 2616

D-85748 Garching Phone.: 089/289-16029

www.lrt.mw.tum.de Email: r.purschke@tum.de

Institute of Astronautics

Spacecraft Technology I - WS1011

Rocket Staging

Exercise 2

The following data is known for a launch vehicle (Scout):

Thrust:

1.Stage: 464.7 kN

2.Stage: 276.5 kN

3.Stage: 97.4 kN

4.Stage: 25.8 kN

Lauch mass:

17, 500 kg

Acceleration at launch:

2.71g0

Specific Impulse:

ground: 240 s

vacuum: 264 s

Payload(556 km - Orbit):

115 kg

Velocity demand(∆v):

9.0 km/s

Under the assumption of an identical structural factor for all stages, calculate the structural factor for the rocket.

Is the choice of 4 stages optimal for this structural factor?

We are looking at a tandem staged rocket with 4 stages. Each stage has a different thrust but the same structural

factor ε. In the first step we consider the total payload factor λ∗ to be optimized. With the given data we can

compute λ∗ with the given formula:

mL,n 115 kg

λ∗ = = = 0.0066

m0,1 17, 500 kg

Here n is the number of stages and n = 4. From the formulary we can use the second definition of λ∗ which is as

follows

n

Y λi

λ∗ =

i=1

1 + λi

This product can be transformed in an easier form only if all payload factors λi are equal (as stated in the text

above). Then you can simplify as follows

n n

Y λi λ

λ∗ = =

i=1

1 + λi 1+λ

Institute of Astronautics Dipl.-Ing. R. Purschke

Boltzmannstr. 15 Room: Mw 2616

D-85748 Garching Phone.: 089/289-16029

www.lrt.mw.tum.de Email: r.purschke@tum.de

Institute of Astronautics

Spacecraft Technology I - WS1011

Rocket Staging

Exercise 2

From now on we only write λ to save some writing. We can now compute λ

1/n

λ∗

λ= 1/n

= 0.398

1 − λ∗

To compute the structural factor ε we use the Ziolkovsky equations for staged rockets which is

n

X 1 + λi

∆v = v∗,i · ln

i=1

εi + λi

Here again we can use the fact that all structural and payload factors are equal throughout the 4 stages. This leads

to

n

X 1 + λi 1+λ

∆v = v∗,i · ln = n · v∗ · ln

i=1

εi + λ i ε+λ

This can be transformed to yield ε

ε = (1 + λ) · e−( n·v∗ ) − λ

∆v

The only variable missing is the v∗ which we only know on the ground (240 s) and in vacuum (264 s). We assume

that the rocket flies 1/3 of the time in the atmosphere and 2/3 of the time in vacuum. This leads to a average value

of v∗

1 2

v∗,avg = · v∗,ground + · v∗,vacuum = 2511.36

3 3

This leads to an structural factor of

ε = 0.173

Now we want to check if the choice of 4 stages is an optimal choice for this rocket and the given ∆v. The first

possibility is the rule of thumb equation stated in the lecture

∆v

n ≈ 1.09 ≈ 3.91

v∗

So we are probably in the right magnitude when we are using 4 stages. This easy to use formula is derived from

this equation

∆v e−1

nopt ≈ 1+ε· ≈ 4.11

v∗ 2

We used our calculated ε = 0.173 and we see again that 4 stages is the closest value to the computed optimum. The

last way to calculate the optimum would be to compute the optimal total payload factor first using the equation

(derived in the lecture)

1 e · ε

λopt = 1− = 0.445

e−1 2

This values can be inserted in the Ziolkovsky equation which has be transformed to yield the optimal values of

stages

∆v

nopt = = 4.22

1+λopt

v∗ · ln ε+λopt

Institute of Astronautics Dipl.-Ing. R. Purschke

Boltzmannstr. 15 Room: Mw 2616

D-85748 Garching Phone.: 089/289-16029

www.lrt.mw.tum.de Email: r.purschke@tum.de

Institute of Astronautics

Spacecraft Technology I - WS1011

Rocket Staging

Exercise 2

For a two-stage sounding rocket there are two strategies for ascent available:

a) After burn-out of the first stage the rocket proceed until the velocity is zero before the second stage is ignited.

b) Immediately after burn-out of the first stage the second stage is ignited.

Which strategy gives the highest altitude for the two-stage sounding rocket?

Which strategy brings our payload into the higher orbit? First we define the three masses of our rocket:

Institute of Astronautics Dipl.-Ing. R. Purschke

Boltzmannstr. 15 Room: Mw 2616

D-85748 Garching Phone.: 089/289-16029

www.lrt.mw.tum.de Email: r.purschke@tum.de

Institute of Astronautics

Spacecraft Technology I - WS1011

Rocket Staging

Exercise 2

We apply the principle of energy conservation to the complete system. We assume that the burn phase is comparable

short to the flight time and can be neglected. So directly after the rocket launch the rocket has burned the fuel of

the first stage it has no potential energy but the velocity v1 and the kinetic energy of

1

Ekin = m1 · v12

2

We wait until the velocity of the rocket becomes the zero at the height h1 . Now the rocket has no kinetic energy

but the potential energy:

Epot = m1 · g · h1

Due to the energy conservation we can write:

1

m1 · g · h1 = m1 · v12

2

The same equations can be stated for the second stage

1

mL · g · h2 = mL · v22

2

In case a) the total height H can be calculated through adding the height h1 to h2 . Simply spoken we are conse-

cutively launching two single-stage rockets. The first rocket starts on the ground and puts the second stage and

the payload in to a given height h1 . When the second stage’s velocity reaches zero we start the second single-stage

rocket (= 2nd stage) which puts the payload in the final height H. The leads to

1 2

H = h1 + h2 = (v + v22 )

2g 1

For the scenario b) we again assume that the burn time of both stages is very small compared to the complete

flight and that both stages are burned without a pause between the burn phases. So after the initial burning of

both stages the rocket has the kinetic energy:

1

Ekin = mL · (v1 + v2 )2

2

The rocket reaches its maximal height at H and has the final potential energy

Epot = mL · g · H

If you combine the two equations you get

1 1 2

H= (v1 + v2 )2 = (v + v22 + 2 · v1 · v2 )

2g 2g 1 | {z }

So the second scenario reaches a greater height due to the last term. So the conclusion is that cruising phases

during the ascent have to be avoided.

Institute of Astronautics Dipl.-Ing. R. Purschke

Boltzmannstr. 15 Room: Mw 2616

D-85748 Garching Phone.: 089/289-16029

www.lrt.mw.tum.de Email: r.purschke@tum.de

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