Aerodynamic optimisation of the rocket plane in subsonic and supersonic flight conditions

Marcin Figat, Agnieszka Kwiek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents the results of a numerical study of the aerodynamic shape of the Rocket Plane LEX. The Rocket Plane is a main part of the Modular Airplane System - MAS; a special vehicle devoted to suborbital tourist flights. The Rocket Plane was designed for subsonic and supersonic flight conditions. Therefore, the impact of the Mach number should be considered during the aerodynamic design of the Rocket Plane. The main goal of the investigation was to determine the sensitivity of the Rocket Plane aerodynamic characteristics to the Mach number during the optimisation of the LEX geometry. The paper includes results of the optimisation process for Mach number from the range Ma = 0.5 to Ma = 2.5. These results reveal that the aerodynamic characteristics of models optimised for the subsonic and transonic regime of Mach numbers (up to Ma = 1) were also improved for the supersonic speed regime. However, in the case of models optimised for the supersonic flight regime the aerodynamic characteristics in subsonic flight regime, are inferior compared to the model before the optimisation process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2266-2281
Number of pages16
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part G: Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2017


  • Optimisation
  • aerodynamics of subsonic and supersonic speeds
  • leading edge extension
  • computational fluid dynamics


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