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DUKSUP: A Computer Program for High Thrust Launch Vehicle Trajectory Design and OptimizationFrom the late 1960s through 1997, the leadership of NASAs Intermediate and Large class unmanned expendable launch vehicle projects resided at the NASA Lewis (now Glenn) Research Center (LeRC). One of LeRCs primary responsibilities --- trajectory design and performance analysis --- was accomplished by an internally-developed analytic three dimensional computer program called DUKSUP. Because of its Calculus of Variations-based optimization routine, this code was generally more capable of finding optimal solutions than its contemporaries. A derivation of optimal control using the Calculus of Variations is summarized including transversality, intermediate, and final conditions. The two point boundary value problem is explained. A brief summary of the codes operation is provided, including iteration via the Newton-Raphson scheme and integration of variational and motion equations via a 4th order Runge-Kutta scheme. Main subroutines are discussed. The history of the LeRC trajectory design efforts in the early 1960s is explained within the context of supporting the Centaur upper stage program. How the code was constructed based on the operation of the AtlasCentaur launch vehicle, the limits of the computers of that era, the limits of the computer programming languages, and the missions it supported are discussed. The vehicles DUKSUP supported (AtlasCentaur, TitanCentaur, and ShuttleCentaur) are briefly described. The types of missions, including Earth orbital and interplanetary, are described. The roles of flight constraints and their impact on launch operations are detailed (such as jettisoning hardware on heating, Range Safety, ground station tracking, and elliptical parking orbits). The computer main frames on which the code was hosted are described. The applications of the code are detailed, including independent check of contractor analysis, benchmarking, leading edge analysis, and vehicle performance improvement assessments. Several of DUKSUPs many major impacts on launches are discussed including Intelsat, Voyager, Pioneer Venus, HEAO, Galileo, and Cassini.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Spurlock, O. Frank
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Williams, Craig H.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Date Acquired
June 17, 2015
Publication Date
May 1, 2015
Subject Category
Computer Programming And Software
Report/Patent Number
AIAA Paper 2014-3671
Meeting Information
AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference(Cleveland, OH)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 526310.04.08.03
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
Launch vehicle performance optimization
high thrust trajectory design
computer code development

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