Monte Carlo analysis of structural loads resulting from space vehicle lift-off



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A Monte Carlo analysis was conducted to determine a theoretical Apollo Saturn V launch release design tending moment at a critical location on the spacecraft structure. Inputs to the analysis were defined by their distribution functions and selected by a random number generator. Three-dimensional structural dynamic characteristics of the Apollo Saturn V vehicle were used in a forced response program to determine the spacecraft loads for 200 cases. The results indicate that the maximum bending moment is lognormally distributed. In addition, the design bending moment was compared to one obtained using the current design method of root-sum-squaring the results of several separate cases. This investigation shows that a Monte Carlo approach to determine a lift-off design load is feasible, and that the result obtained through the current design method is conservative.