ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Bernd Chudoba


Engineering design can be broken down into three phases: conceptual design, preliminary design, and detailed design. During the conceptual design phase, several potential configurations are studied towards the identification of the baseline vehicle. Although the least amount of detail is known about the design during the early conceptual design phase, the decisions made during this phase lock in major features effecting life-cycle cost and overall product success. As the next big space race begins, it is critically important to have a readily available tool for launch vehicle designers that is intuitive to use, easy to modify, cost effective, and provides correct results. This thesis details the creation of such a tool for use during the early conceptual design phase by analyzing existing launch vehicle design software and literature in order to adopt a best-practice approach to launch vehicle sizing. In addition to correctly sizing the vehicle calculating the initial parameters, the tool also determines the vehicle's basic geometric information and runs an ascent-to-orbit trajectory simulation to verify the design's validity. The tool is capable of sizing fully expendable space launch vehicles, fully expendable vehicles whose final stage is to be used for both ascent-to-orbit and additional orbital maneuvering after reaching the parking orbit, and vehicles whose first stage performs a self-recovery through the boostback and vertical landing method.


Space launch vehicle, Boostback, Tossback, SpaceX, Falcon 9, Gemini Launch Vehicle, Saturn V, VTVL, Sizing


Aerospace Engineering | Engineering | Mechanical Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington