This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Determination of Key Parameters for Reverse Engineering Solid Rocket Powered Missiles




Metts, Jonathan

Type of Degree



Aerospace Engineering


This thesis examines the process of reverse engineering solid rocket powered missiles using legacy codes and a genetic algorithm (GA). Available data for reverse engineering problems might include performance characteristics and internal and external geometric parameters. Reverse engineering from limited inputs, if proven to be practical and reliable, can be a critical means of obtaining more detailed information about missile programs from available data. For the present study, a baseline design for a solid rocket-propelled ballistic missile was reverse-engineered using a genetic algorithm and an accompanying set of programs designed specifically for solid rocket-powered missile prediction, including a six-degree-of-freedom dynamics simulator and solid propellant internal ballistics code. The goals were to match range, altitude, mass, and burnout time of the baseline missile. Parameters being studied included propellant type, propellant radius ratio, fineness ratio, center body diameter, and nose length ratio. The objective of the GA and subsequent analyses was to find designs that closely matched the baseline model’s performance characteristics and internal and external geometry. The focus of this thesis was to determine which combinations of design variables and other data should be known and to what precision, for a given confidence level in the reverse engineering solution.