In structural modeling of launch vehicles, liquid propellant is sometimes rigidly attached to feedline walls. This assumption precludes the interaction of structural modes with propellant pressure and flow. An analysis of fluid-structure interaction (FSI) for the Atlas V launch vehicle revealed that structural models with rigidly-attached propellant yield unconservative response predictions under some conditions. In particular, during the maximum acceleration time of flight, pressure oscillations acting at bends in the Atlas V liquid oxygen (LO2) feedline excite 15–20 Hz structural modes that have considerable gain on the feedline and at the spacecraft interface. The investigation also revealed that the venting of gas from the pogo accumulator is an excitation source and changes the dynamic characteristics of the hydraulic system. The FSI simulation produced during the investigation can be adapted to mission-specific conditions, such that responses and loads are conservatively predicted for any Atlas V flight.

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