Dynamics and Simulation of Flexible Rockets

Dynamics and Simulation of Flexible Rockets

1st Edition - December 10, 2020

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  • Authors: Timothy Barrows, Jeb Orr
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128199954
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128199947

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Dynamics and Simulation of Flexible Rockets provides a full state, multiaxis treatment of launch vehicle flight mechanics and provides the state equations in a format that can be readily coded into a simulation environment. Various forms of the mass matrix for the vehicle dynamics are presented. The book also discusses important forms of coupling, such as between the nozzle motions and the flexible body.This book is designed to help practicing aerospace engineers create simulations that can accurately verify that a space launch vehicle will successfully perform its mission. Much of the open literature on rocket dynamics is based on analysis techniques developed during the Apollo program of the 1960s. Since that time, large-scale computational analysis techniques and improved methods for generating Finite Element Models (FEMs) have been developed. The art of the problem is to combine the FEM with dynamic models of separate elements such as sloshing fuel and moveable engine nozzles. The pitfalls that may occur when making this marriage are examined in detail.

Key Features

  • Covers everything the dynamics and control engineer needs to analyze or improve the design of flexible launch vehicles
  • Provides derivations using Lagrange’s equation and Newton/Euler approaches, allowing the reader to assess the importance of nonlinear terms
  • Details the development of linear models and introduces frequency-domain stability analysis techniques
  • Presents practical methods for transitioning between finite element models, incorporating actuator dynamics, and developing a preliminary flight control design


Aerospace, Structural and Control System Engineers involved in the simulation of rocket launch vehicles. Masters and PhD level Aerospace Engineering students

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction
    2. The system mass matrix
    3. Slosh modeling
    4. Pendulum model
    5. Forces and torques
    6. Engine interactions
    7. Linearization
    8. Simulation parameters
    9. Stability and control
    10. Implementation and analysis

Product details

  • No. of pages: 338
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2020
  • Published: December 10, 2020
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128199954
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128199947

About the Authors

Timothy Barrows

Dr. Barrows has over 30 years of experience in analysis and simulation of complex mechanical systems for NASA and various agencies of the Department of Defense. His engineering expertise includes aerodynamics, multi-body dynamics, and simulation. A particular expertise is simulation of multibody systems. He has either directly created or supervised the construction of high fidelity simulations of several systems, including the attitude control of a satellite, a generalized robotic manipulator model, the space station mobile transporter, and the flight mechanics of precision guided airdrop systems. Other work has included successful airdrop tests of a gliding autogyro with folding rotor blades, and a concept definition of a large vehicle designed to fly in ground effect. He has served as Section Chief of the Dynamical Systems Group at Draper, in which capacity he served as the engineering task leader of for the Space Station Dynamic Interaction program. During the past ten years, Dr. Barrows has focused on the development of rocket simulations. This has included a wide variety of rockets for both private and government sponsors, culminating in work on NASA’s space launch system.

Affiliations and Expertise

Ret. Principal Member Technical Staff, Draper Laboratory, Cambridge, MA, USA

Jeb Orr

Dr. Jeb Orr has over 16 years of experience in mission-critical software engineering, flight mechanics, model-based design, flight control system architecture, guidance and navigation, structural dynamics, and related disciplines. He has authored or co-authored more than 30 peer-reviewed publications and technical reports and has conducted several invited lectures in the areas of dynamics and control. Dr. Orr has had a key role in various research initiatives supporting NASA and Department of Defense (DoD) emerging technologies. Dr. Orr was a principal designer of the Space Launch System Adaptive Augmenting Control (AAC) algorithm, and developed the FRACTAL software package, now the standard NASA design model for SLS flight control analysis. In 2013 Dr. Orr was awarded the NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal in recognition of his contributions to the SLS program. Dr. Orr serves as an officer of the SAE/IEEE Aerospace Control and Guidance Systems Committee (ACGSC), and conducts courses in aerospace dynamics and flight control for NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC).

Affiliations and Expertise

Principal Staff, Flight Systems and CTO, Mclaurin Aerospace, Huntsville, AL, USA

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