The Mission Analysis IPT is part of the Aerodynamics and Flight Dynamics Department and is responsible for all computational rocket calculations, ranging from the rocket’s trajectory to aerodynamic optimization, and including sensitivity analysis, risk area assessment and engine choice. Each of these duties are run through internally developed scripts.
Another major task of ours is to evaluate the possible launch conditions by means of stochastic simulations, which are fundamental to determine whether external conditions are favorable and viable for take-off on Launch Day.
Furthermore, the team is in charge of maintaining and updating the public GitHub repository, also called “MSA-Toolkit,” where all of our code is stored. We go to great lengths to constantly improve our code and have a more accurate and accessible simulator.
Medium-high Matlab skills are required, since all our code is developed from scratch, so we offer several Matlab workshops throughout the year.
ROCKET FLIGHT TRAJECTORY
Our main role is to determine the best possible trajectory for the rocket, and an accurate prediction of the real apogee, velocity and acceleration are vital.
To that end, we run a series of stochastic simulations to have a reliable amount of data for different launch conditions, such as different launchpad elevations or different wind magnitudes or directions, to ensure that every possible situation is analyzed.
RISK AREA ASSESTMENT
Our code allows for a computation of safety areas under given launch conditions. We run stochastic simulations as a function of launchpad elevation and azimuth, as well as wind direction and magnitude, which have as an output a series of landing points. We run this sort of analysis for both the possibility of a successful parachute deployment or a ballistic flight.
Another major task of our IPT is to aerodynamically optimize all rocket surfaces, therefore we have to evaluate different shapes and areas for the nose cose, fins and boat tail to determine the best choice that will result in a decrease of aerodynamic drag. This goal is accomplished by employing an internally developed algorithm that can evaluate a vast range of shapes and surfaces, to find the combination that works best.
To successfully reach our target apogee we have to determine the correct engine choice among a variety of possibilities. As during the design process, as the precise mass still has a level of uncertainty, we have developed a code which allows us to set a range of possible masses and calculate the reachable apogee accordingly as a function of the engine choice, allowing us to find the best solution once the rocket’s design is finalized.
Our internally developed sensitivity analysis code allows us to perturb certain integral parameters such as structural mass and aerodynamic coefficients, to determine the effect on the resulting apogee.
This sort of analysis is very useful as this type of data is not always perfectly accurate, and accounting for such variations and integrating the possible errors in our final design is vital to guarantee a level of accuracy and safety during launch.