Scott Lindsay Presents Fairing Optimization Paper at IAC 2020
Scott Lindsay will be presenting his team’s paper entitled Mult-objective Optimization of a Small Launch Vehicle Aerodynamic Payload Fairing for Minimum Drag and Mass at this year’s International Astronautical Congress. The project introduces the design of the front nosecone for small launch vehicles, which is critical for dictating the aerodynamics of the entire launch vehicle. Conventional nosecone designs are longer to be more aerodynamic, but this extra length increases the mass of the vehicle, thus decreasing the launch efficacy. To answer this dilemma, Scott’s team used a Genetic Optimization algorithm to synthetically mimic the process of natural selection to create the optimum values for a given mass and diameter to fit the satellite. The algorithm works by creating a population of ‘genomes’, or a list of numbers that are evaluated on the basis of ‘fitness’ (aerodynamic optimization) for a target mass. The genomes are then randomly mutated to generate iterations of population as poor performers are eliminated. Eventually, the algorithm generates a fairing geometry that has the optimum fitness – one which is the most aerodynamic for the target mass. Our finalized payload fairing design will inform the design of the full rocket geometry, as the aerodynamic performance of the entire launch vehicle is a function of the payload fairing. For more details on the upcoming presentation, check out the conference agenda at: https://www.iafastro.org/events/iac/iac-2020/technical-programme/technical-sessions.html.