Chapter 7

Launch Mechanics


The general equations for launching spacecraft into orbit are developed and the influence of thrust, lift, and drag is assessed. Equations for the practical preliminary design case of constant thrust and negligible lift and drag are solved and permit determination of boost trajectories, burn-out velocities, and post-burn-out booster trajectories. The selection of a launch system for a spacecraft of a given mass involves evaluating the use of one, two, or three stages and each are subjected to detailed analysis. The design choices are shown to be dependent upon the assumptions made concerning structure and engine weights, even in a preliminary design process. Because launch systems are large structures it is ...

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