The purpose of this research is to develop and architect a preliminary multidisciplinary design optimization (MDO) tool that creates multiple types of generalized rocket fairing models. These models are sized relative to input geometric models and are analyzed and optimized, taking into account the primary objectives, namely the structural, thermal, and aerodynamic aspects of standard rocket flights. A variety of standard nose cone shapes is used as optimization proof of concept examples, being sized and compared to determine optimal choices based on the input specifications, such as the rocket body geometry and the specified trajectory paths. Any input models can be optimized to their respective best nose cone style or optimized to each of the cone styles individually, depending on the desired constraints. Two proof of concept example rocket model studies are included with varying sizes and speeds. Both have been optimized using the processes described to provide delineative instances into how results are improved and time saved. This is done by optimizing shape and thickness of the fairings while ascertaining if the remaining length downstream on the designated rocket model remains within specified stress and temperature ranges. The first optimized example exhibits a region of high stress downstream on the rocket body model that champions how these tools can be used to catch weaknesses and improve the overall integrity of a rocket design. The second example demonstrates how more established rocket designs can decrease their weight and drag through optimization of the fairing design.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





Ronald Scott Smart, fairing, nose cone, computer aided design (CAD), optimization, finite element analysis (FEA), multidisciplinary design optimization (MDO), computation fluid dynamics (CFD)