Characterization of Aerospace Vehicle Performance and Mission Analysis Using Thermodynamic Availability


The fundamental relationship between entropy and aerospace vehicle and mission performance is analyzed in terms of the general availability rate balance between force-based vehicle performance, available energy associated with expended propellant, and the overall loss rate of availability, including the vehicle wake. The availability relationship for a vehicle is analytically combined with the vehicle equations of motion; this combination yields the balance between on-board energy rate usage and rates of changes in kinetic and potential energies of the vehicle and overall rate of entropy production. This result is then integrated over time for a general aerospace mission; as examples, simplified single-stage-to-orbit rocket-powered and air-breathing missions are analyzed. Examination of rate of availability loss for the general case of an accelerating, climbing aerospace vehicle provides a powerful loss superposition principle in terms of the separate evaluation and combination of loss rates for the same vehicle in cruise, acceleration, and climb. Rate of availability losses is also examined in terms of separable losses associated with the propulsion system and external aerodynamics. These loss terms are cast in terms of conventional parameters such as drag coefficient and engine specific impulse. Finally, rate losses in availability for classes of vehicles are described.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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Article - Journal

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© 2010 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2010