Geometric Design of Hypersonic Vehicles for Optimal Mission Performance with High-Fidelity Aerodynamic Models

Brian G. Coulter, Daning Huang, Zhenbo Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Recent advances in efficient optimization algorithms and high-performance computing allow the construction of integrated design frameworks wherein the traditionally segregated disciplines such as airframe design, aerodynamics, and trajectory analysis can be coupled together in order to undertake the design and optimization of vehicles as integrated systems in a larger design space. The particular interest of this paper is a potential approach to incorporating high-fidelity aerodynamic models and trajectory optimization techniques in hypersonic vehicle designs by incrementally varying the geometric parameters of the vehicle to observe induced performance variations and optimize these parameters for specific mission profiles using data-driven optimization. First, the exigency of creating integrated design frameworks considering high-fidelity disciplinary models such as aerodynamics and trajectory modeling is justified. Then, an energy-based problem formulation for hypersonic trajectory optimization is introduced. A panel method based on the modified Newtonian flow theory and Eckert’s reference model is used to produce high-fidelity aerodynamic force and heating coefficients, based on which a pseudospectral optimal control package is used to solve for optimal trajectories. Finally, a novel, iterative, data-driven framework employing Bayesian optimization and machine learning is established to integrate these disciplinary models and successively search for the geometry that enables the optimal mission performance. Simulation results demonstrate the feasibility and performance of the developed approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)870-882
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Aircraft
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering

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