3787. Small Satellites Launcher Mass Properties Estimation for Design Efficiency Improvement in Preliminary Conceptual Phase

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Paper

Rubén Gonzålez-Gonzålez, Dr. Andrés García-Pérez, Dr. Gustavo Alonso-Rodrigo: 3787. Small Satellites Launcher Mass Properties Estimation for Design Efficiency Improvement in Preliminary Conceptual Phase. 2023.

 

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to introduce the current research at “Universidad PolitĂ©cnica de Madrid” to increase the design efficiency of small space launchers in the preliminary conceptual phases based on a new approach in MBSE methodology that introduces efficient and fast simulations reducing their costs by finding an optimal balance with design weights.
In the last decade, the nano and micro satellites market has emerged as the most promising in the space sector with a profit of $143.7M in 2017 and a growth forecast of 13.43% until 2023 [1]. Despite this significant market growth, the current supply of launching services offer for these small payloads is almost non-existent and satellites manufacturers must share rides as secondary customers on larger heavy launchers, what often causes schedule and targeted orbit conflicts. Because of this market demand, over the past few years many small companies have started plans to develop small launchers but only RocketLab was successful with its Electron launcher (a two-stage-to-orbit launcher with 225kg payload capacity to Low-Earth-Orbits at 185km) reaching orbital injection several times and presenting a public service. However, Electron ́s launch price is around $33k/kg, far away from initial SpaceX Falcon1 2008 offer (11k$/kg) [2]. This market analysis demonstrates the urgent need for finding a design solution that will let to present a competitive small launcher offer.