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Launch Vehicle Expert System: LVX
Integrated Aerodynamic Design and Analysis of Advanced Launch Vehicles



LVX provides an integrated aerodynamic design and analysis procedure for launch vehicles. LVX incorporates engineering prediction methods, historical knowledge, and corporate memory into a knowledge-based system. The objective is to provide an economical means to conduct aerodynamic design and analysis. The method provides a guide to the aerodynamic-related information required during the conceptual and preliminary design stages. In addition, the user has access to historical information on similar launch vehicles, the ability to set up geometric characteristics, and a capability to predict preliminary aerodynamics of simple launch vehicles. The method includes a number of searchable databases containing technical references on launch vehicle aerodynamics, engineering experiences and anecdotes on launch vehicle programs of the past, and information about various launch vehicles. The method can be used as a stand-alone tool for traditional design approaches or as an integral part of a multidisciplinary design method. It can function as an archive, and it can be updated with new information as desired by the user.

LVX incorporates

  • Corporate memory and experience
  • Expert knowledge relating to the aerodynamics of launch vehicles
  • Historical database of information
  • Pictures and drawings of existing designs
  • References to published reports
  • Detailed information on analysis options
  • Specific code critiques and suggestions for appropriate prediction methods
  • Sample experimental databases
  • Interface between the expert system and the analysis codes

LVX applications

A number of applications for LVX have been identified for both government and industry. Engineers from NASA and other government agencies use it as a tool to assist in faster evaluation of new launch vehicle configurations as well as a means to archive the aerodynamic analyses for a specific project. The historical database is a valuable asset to both government and commercial users. Commercial launch vehicle companies especially benefit from the design rules and vehicle analysis capabilities.

Other applications

The approach used for LVX can be used for any other technical discipline. Contact NEAR for a demonstration of LVX and more information on how it can be used for other applications.


Mendenhall, M. R., Hegedus, M. C., Whitlock, S. T., Rodman, L. C., and Faltz, J. A., "Integrated Aerodynamic Design and Analysis of Launch Vehicles," AIAA Paper 2001-0263.

Knowledge Systems Software

Launch Vehicle Expert System:  LVX
Best Practices Expert System for CFD: BPX
Rocket Sled Aerodynamics: RSX (U.S. Govt only)
Systems Integration: DIXIE



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