Preliminary design of reusable launch vehicles often entails a large number of structural optimizations in the conceptual design phase to investigate the weight efficiency of different structural concepts. This work addresses two topics. The first topic concerns modeling and analysis methods used for stiffened panel optimization. In particular, the use of PANDA2 program for preliminary design, and the effect of different analysis and modeling choices in PANDA2 on optimum design are investigated. The second topic is comparison of weight efficiency of different stiffening concepts for a liquid hydrogen tank structure design. Optimized metallic and composite designs and their failure modes and margins are compared. Sensitivity to geometric imperfections is also studied.
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