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## A.5.2.4 Inertia Matrices

A.5.2.4.1 Elementary Theory
We calculate inertia matrices for each launch vehicle. Dynamics and Controls need these
matrices to design their controller to reasonable accuracy. To find these matrices for most
vehicles, nine separate values must be obtained. These values are: three moments of
inertia and six products of inertia. Figure A.5.2.4.1.1 displays the typical inertia matrix
that is required, along with a visual representation of the coordinate system we used.

I xx

I xy
I xz

I xy
I yy
I yz

I xz

I yz
I zz

## Fig. A.5.2.4.1.1: Inertia Matrix with Coordinate System

(Brandon White)

The coordinate system we chose for the launch vehicle is the following: the z-direction is
along the length of the vehicle, while the x-direction and y-direction are along two
arbitrary radial directions. For the particular configuration of the launch vehicle, a crucial
assumption is made that all products of inertia are equal to zero. This assumption is valid
when the launch vehicle is symmetric about the axis of rotation. Our launch vehicle is
theoretically symmetric in the z-direction, which is the axis of rotation. However, due to

## Author: Brandon White

2
the fact that actual components of the vehicle will not be symmetric about any axis, this
A.5.2.4 Inertia Matrices

creates inaccuracies in our calculations. In Fig. A.5.2.4.1.2, the simplified inertia matrix
for use in final design is shown.

I xx
0

0
I yy
0

0
0
I zz

## Fig. A.5.2.4.1.2: Simplified Inertia Matrix

(Brandon White)

Another benefit to having a launch vehicle with a circular cross section is that the
moments of inertia in the x-direction and y-direction are going to be the same. The
theory employed by the team is to separate the entire launch vehicle into individual
components, find the moments of inertia for each component, and then sum the inertias
together to get the total moments of inertia for the launch vehicle.
The components of the launch vehicle that are used in inertia calculations are
summarized in table A.5.2.4.1.1.

## A.5.2.4 Inertia Matrices

Table A.5.2.4.1.1 Launch Vehicle Components and Approximate Shapes

Component
Nose Cone
Oxidizer Tanks
Fuel Tanks
Solid Fuel Casings
LITVC
Pressurant Tank
Inter-Stage Skirts
Propellant
Payload
Avionics 1st and 2nd Stage
Avionics 3rd Stage
Engine Nozzle

Shape
Hollow Cone
Hollow Cylinders with End Plates
Hollow Cylinders with End Plates
Hollow Cylinders
Point Mass
Hollow Cylinders with End Plates
Truncated Hollow Cones
Solid Cylinders
Point Mass
Truncated Hollow Cones
Point Mass
Truncated Hollow Cone

## A.5.2.4.2 Component Inertia

A.5.2.4.2.1 Cylinders
For the components that are approximated as cylinders, moments of inertia are found
using Eqs.A.5.2.4.2.1.1 through A.5.2.4.2.1.5.
Hollow Cylinders:
I zz

1
M Ro2 Ri2
2

(A.5.2.4.2.1.1)

where M is the total mass of the component (kg), Ro is the outer radius of the component (m), and Ri is the
inner radius of the component (m).

For the radial moments of inertia, the parallel axis theorem is employed to translate the
moment of inertia from the top of the component to the center of mass of the launch
vehicle.

I xx I yy

1
M 3Ro2 3Ri2 l 2 Mx 2
12

(A.5.2.4.2.1.2)

## A.5.2.4 Inertia Matrices

4
where M is the total mass of the component (kg), Ro is the outer radius of the component (m), Ri is the inner
radius of the component (m), l is the approximate length of component (m), and x is the distance from top
of component to the launch vehicle center of mass (m).

The approximate length of each component is found because many times the propellant
tanks are found to have hemispherical ends. To make calculations easier the tanks are
approximated, from table A.5.2.4.1.1, as hollow cylinders with end plates.

The

## approximate length of the component is calculated using Eqn. A.5.2.4.2.1.3. Figure

A.5.2.4.2.1.1 visually explains this approximation. For solid rocket motor casings, this
approximation is not used because the casing is designed as a hollow cylinder with square
ends.
R

2R/
Actual

Approximate

## Fig. A.5.2.4.2.1.1: Hemispherical Tank Approximation

(Brandon White)

l L

4R

(A.5.2.4.2.1.3)

where L is the total length of the cylindrical component (kg), and R is the radius of the component (m).

## A.5.2.4 Inertia Matrices

Solid Cylinders:
I zz

(A.5.2.4.2.1.4)

1
MR 2
2

where M is the total mass of the component (kg), R is the Radius of the component (m).

(A.5.2.4.2.1.5)

1
1

l R 2 Mx 2
4
3

I xx I yy M

where M is the total mass of the component (kg), R is the radius of the component (m), l is the approximate
length of component (m), and x is the distance from top of component to the launch vehicle center of mass
(m).

## A.5.4.2.2.2 End Plates

For cylinders that are designed with hemispherical ends, the approximate values for
principal moments of inertia were found for a square cylinder with cylindrical plates on
each end. In the axial direction, Eqn. A.5.2.4.2.2.1 is used. Equation A.5.2.4.2.2.2 is the
moment of inertia in the radial direction.
I zz

(A.5.2.4.2.2.1)

1
1
MR 2 MR 2
2
2

where M is the total mass of the component (kg), R is the Radius of the component (m).
I xx I yy

1
1
_
MR 2 Mx 2 MR 2 M x
4
4

(A.5.2.4.2.2.2)

where M is the total mass of the end plate (kg), R is the radius of the end plate (m), x is the distance from
top of top end plate to the launch vehicle center of mass (m), and

## end plate to the launch vehicle center of mass (m).

A5.4.2.2.3 Cones
The principal moments of inertia for the nose cone are found by subtracting a small solid
cone from a larger solid cone. Figure A.5.2.4.2.3.1 shows this method.

(Brandon White)

## For a solid cone, Eqns. A.5.2.4.2.3.1 and A.5.2.4.2.3.2 are employed.

I zz

3
MR 2
10

(A.5.2.4.2.3.1)

where M is the total mass of the component (kg), R is the Radius of the component (m).

3 2 3 2
L
R
20
5

I xx I yy M

(A.5.2.4.2.3.2)

where M is the total mass of the component (kg), R is the radius of the component (m), L is the vertical
length of the component(m).

At first glance, this method appears very simple. However, the only properties of the
nose cone that is known are the vertical length, thickness, outer radius, mass and material.
To use the solid cone equations, both the larger and smaller solid cones had to be created
with these properties. The volumes of each solid cone are found and associated with a
mass using the material density. These are the masses used in Eqns. A.5.2.4.2.3.1 and
A.5.2.4.2.3.2. Knowing the thickness of the material provides enough information for the
vertical length and radius of the smaller solid cone (Ex. The length of the smaller cone is
the length of the cone minus the thickness of the cone). The difference between the axial
moments of inertia for the two solid cones is the approximate axial moment of inertia for
the hollow cone. For the radial moment of inertia, the parallel axis theorem must be
included after finding the difference between the two solid cones. So, the radial moments
of inertia are the difference of the two calculations added to the product of the mass of the
nose cone and the square of the distance between the top of the nose cone and the vehicle
center of mass.

## A.5.2.4.2.4 Truncated Cones

Certain components of the launch vehicle had to be approximated as truncated hollow
cones. To find the associated moments of inertia, the same method as for hollow cones is
used with an additional step. After finding a large hollow cone, a smaller hollow cone
was subtracted off the top, resulting in the truncated hollow cone approximation. Figure
A.5.2.4.2.4.1 visually depicts this.

(Brandon White)

## A.5.2.4.2.5 Point Masses

Components of the launch vehicle with complete unknown geometry had to be
approximated as point masses. The only inertia property known about the payload
satellite, LITVC, and third stage avionics is the mass. Without any other information we
were hamstrung into making the decision to approximate them as point masses.
Fortunately, all of these components are very small in comparison to the rest of the
launch vehicle. This approximation results in small inaccuracies in final inertia values,
but it must be announced that this approximation does cause inaccuracies. Equations
A.5.2.4.2.5.1 and A.5.2.4.2.5.2 are used for each point mass component.
I zz 0
I xx I yy Mx 2

(A.5.2.4.2.5.1)
(A.5.2.4.2.5.2)

where M is the total mass of the component (kg), x is the distance from component to the launch vehicle
center of mass (m).

## A.5.2.4.3 Evolution of Inertia Math Model

The inertia model went through four central design phases, with each achieving more
complexity than the phase preceding it. Phase I, shown in Fig. A.5.2.4.3.1, was very
basic. The model included a single propellant tank in each stage, external skin to the
propellant tanks, the propellant itself, and the nose cone. As much as we would have
liked to stop there, we knew the final launch vehicle design would not be very close to
this inertia design.
P
R
O
P

P
R
O
P

PROP

## Fig. A.5.2.4.3.1: Phase I Launch Vehicle

(Brandon White)

Phase II of the math model design incorporated three crucial design features. The first of
which was that THERE IS NO SKIN. There is no external skin wrapped around the
propellant tanks, the outer walls of the launch vehicle (for the most part) are the
propellant tank walls. Phase II also includes both oxidizer and fuel tanks in each stage,
rather than just one propellant tank. At this juncture in design, the team was still
considering cryogenic and storable propellants, which required more than one tank per
stage. Lastly, inter-stage skirts were added between stages. Figure A.5.2.4.3.2 represents
the conceptual launch vehicle design for Phase II.

O
F
O
F

O
F

## Fig. A.5.2.4.3.2: Phase II Launch Vehicle

(Brandon White)

Phase III was designed in accordance to final launch vehicle design. With the second and
third stages having solid rocket motors, the tanks were reverted back to only one tank in
those stages. For the first stage a hybrid motor was selected, which resulted in needing
approximations for a pressurant tank and oxidizer tank in addition to the solid propellant
needed for the hybrid motor. Engine nozzles were also included for each stage. Phase III
also included the possibility of having the inter-stage skirts being comprised of an angled
section and a straight section.
Phase III (seen in Fig. A.5.2.4.3.3) marked the first time that the payload and avionics
were included in the inertia approximation. The payload was approximated as a solid
cylinder inside the nose cone, with dimensions scaled down appropriately to fit. We
knew that the avionics were going to be centrally based in the second stage, so they were
approximated as a solid cylinder inside the inter-stage skirt between the second and third
stage.

10

Payload
S
Skirt
S
O
L
I
D

Skirt
Pressurant
Tank
Oxidizer
Tank
S
O
L
I
D

## Fig. A.5.2.4.3.3: Phase III Launch Vehicle

(Brandon White)

Phase IV marked the final inertia design that was actually used in final calculations. In
this configuration, LITVC is included as a point mass located at the base of the stage
nozzle, the payload and avionics in the third stage are point masses at the base of the nose
cone, and avionics in the first and second stages are truncated hollow cones that are wall
mounted to the inter-stage skirts. Figure A.5.2.4.3.4 displays Phase IV launch vehicle
configuration.

Payload,
Avionics
S
Avionics

Skirt
S
O
L
I
D

LITVC

Avionics
Skirt
Pressurant
Tank
Oxidizer
Tank
S
O
L
I
D

11

(Brandon White)

## A.5.2.4.4 Inertia Requirements/Results

The purpose of the inertia math model is to provide the Dynamics & Controls group with
inertia matrices at certain time instances during flight. The values that D&C requires are
the matrices before and after propellant burn of each stage. Figure A.5.2.4.4.1 provides
these inertia matrices for the 200g payload. Figure A.5.2.4.4.2 provides these inertia
matrices for the 1kg payload. Figure A.5.2.4.4.3 provides these inertia matrices for the
5kg payload. All values are in kgm2.

0
0
25551
0
25551 0

0
0
751

First Stage,
Full 0
0
1417

0
0

1417 0
0
28

446

0
0
2766
0
2766 0

0
0
59

0
0.44

0
4.83 0
0 4.83

0
0 0.104

0
19795
0
19795

0
0

Second Stage,
Full

First Stage,
Empty0
0
19

Second Stage,
Empty

19
0

Third Stage,
Empty

(Brandon White)

0
0
13567
0 13567 0

0
0
381
First Stage,
Full 0
0
684

684 0
0 12.5

Second Stage,
Empty

0
10814
0 10814

233

First Stage,
25 0
0
Empty

25
0

1243 0
0 1243

0
0.60

25.6

Second Stage,
Full
6.75 0
0

6.75 0
0 0.14

Third Stage,
Empty

(Brandon White)

12

0
0
108065
0
108065 0

0
0
3632

First Stage,
Full 0
0
3326

0
0

3326 0
0
68

Second Stage,
Empty

0
76990
0
76990

1909

First Stage,
Empty
20 0
0

0
0

0
0
6663
0
6663 0

0
0
150

Second Stage,
Full
8.97
0
0

20
0
0 0.46

0
0

0
0.11

Third Stage,
Empty

(Brandon White)

8.97
0