240. A Semi-Analytical Method for Spacecraft Weight Estimation


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D R Pence: 240. A Semi-Analytical Method for Spacecraft Weight Estimation. 1961.



This paper was presented at the 20th National Conference of the Society of Aeronautical Weight Engineers at Akron, Ohio, May 15-18, 1961. The weight of any satellite or spacecraft vehicle can be functionally subdivided into those components which are basic, or fixed, and those which will vary with the vehicle gross weight. Of the variable items, the major subsystems will be structure, temperature control, and propulsion. Furthermore, the propulsion function may be complicated by the requirement for two separate systems with different velocity requirements and burning periods (i.e. coarse and fine maneuvers). In this paper the basic rocket equation is manipulated to reflect the use of a dual propulsion system and appropriate constants are introduced which allow the vehicle weight to be estimated as a function of the fixed weight, propulsion system choice, and mission performance requirements. A series of semi-empirical curves are included which allow these constants to be chosen on the basis of any reasonable set of subsystem design criteria. The resulting method for estimating weight is limited to spacecraft rather than boosters and is particularly useful in studies which require weight data to be presented parametrically.


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