As a summer 2021 intern, my second project was to complete the sizing, the geometry selection, and the configuration layout of the Titan Aircraft, based on known parameters and mission requirements. Certain mission requirements were already known and are summarized below:
Clearly, there are not many well defined parameters, which made initial sizing somewhat vague. The range was based off of the Direct Fusion Drive’s engine capability. The engine acts similarly an electric engine, in that no mass of the aircraft is lost over the course of the mission. Because of this, the typical initial sizing estimates and mass fractions that are calculate to account for fuel burn over the course of the mission were unnecessary. The dry mass was a constant 2000kg.
Given the constant total dry mass, I could then roughly calculate the sizes for each part of the plane: the wing, the vertical tail, and the fuselage. These were back of the envelope calculations, using formulas from Raymer’s Aircraft Design textbook, so that I would be able to get a first sketch of what the aircraft may look like. After I calculated initial sizes of each section, I used NASA’s Open Vehicle Sketch Pad to design the first aircraft configuration, shown below: