2438. Space Age Weight Reduction: A Retrospect


SAWE Members get a $200 store credit each year.*

Become a SAWE Member

*Store credit coupon available at checkout, click the button in your shopping cart to apply the coupon.
Not applicable to SAWE textbooks and current conference technical papers.


R Wade: 2438. Space Age Weight Reduction: A Retrospect. 1998.



The design engineer must reach a compromise between many competing customers. No two customer’s requirements are as diametrically opposed to each other’s than those of the weights and stress engineers. In aerospace there is no other field where weight reduction is as paramount as with the space program. The United States and Soviet Union Space Programs have been built upon a foundation of Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles designed during the mid-50’s to deliver a thermo-nuclear payload. With enough time and money, true weight reduction in a launch system can be realized. Unfortunately, during the early development of the ICBM the one thing that the US did not have was time. We see that in many ways this statement on weights still held true even during intense development schedules. The current cost of access to space is roughly $10,000 per pound of payload delivered to low earth orbit. It pays great dividends to invest heavily in both time and money in a weight reduction program early on in the development cycle.


SKU: Paper2438 Category: