Aerospace Engineering on the Back of an Envelope
Engineers need to acquire “Back-of-the-Envelope” survival skills to obtain rough quantitative answers to real-world problems, particularly when working on projects with enormous complexity and very limited resources. In the case studies treated in this book, we show step-by-step examples of the physical arguments and the resulting calculations obtained using the quick-fire method. We also demonstrate the estimation improvements that can be obtained through the use of more detailed physics-based Back-of-the-Envelope engineering models. These different methods are used to obtain the solutions to a number of design and performance estimation problems arising from two of the most complex real-world engineering projects: the Space Shuttle and the Hubble Space Telescope satellite.
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2 Design of a high school sciencefair electromechanical robot
3 Estimating Shuttle launch orbit and payload magnitudes
4 Columbia Shuttle accident analysis with BackoftheEnvelope methods
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acceleration aerodynamic altitude analysis angle of attack angular approximately assume Back-of-the-Envelope BotE estimate burnout burnout velocity CAIB calculated cargo mass constant curve diameter distance drag force energy engineering Equation equilibrium glide external tank Figure flight path flight-path angle foam impact focal length focal plane focal ratio function given glide model gravity loss heat flux heat transfer Hubble Space Telescope impact load impact speed impact velocity initial entry input km/s launch magnitude mass flow rate maximum mission NASA NASA’s OMS propellant optical orbital altitude Orbiter’s parameters predicted primary mirror problem propellant mass Quick-Fire radius ratio reentry rocket rule of thumb scale second stage secondary mirror Section Shuttle’s simple solenoid solution Space Shuttle specific impulse SSME stage burnout stagnation point structural mass takeoff temperature thrust trajectory vehicle wing