This chapter covers a general presentation of the process of selecting rocket propulsion systems for a given mission. There are many factors, restraints, and analyses that need to be considered and evaluated before suitable selections can be properly made. The objectives are to operate at very high combustion efficiencies and prevent recurring or destructive combustion instabilities. See Refs. 19–1 to 19–6. Because design problems most often have several possible engineering solutions, this can be a complicated task. Three specific aspects of selection are covered here in some detail:

  1. Comparison of merits and disadvantages of liquid propellant rocket engines with solid propellant rocket motors and hybrids.
  2. Key factors used in evaluating particular rocket propulsion systems and in selecting from among several competing candidates.
  3. Necessary interfaces between the propulsion system and the flight vehicle and/or the overall system.

A propulsion system is really one of several subsystems of a flight vehicle. The vehicle, in turn, can be part of a larger overall system. An example of an overall system would be a communications network with ground stations, transmitters, and several satellites; each satellite may require a multi‐stage flight vehicle during launch with all associated propulsion systems as well as on‐orbit attitude‐control propulsion systems (each with specific propulsion requirements). Additionally, the length of active ...

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