Simulating Global Hypersonic Point-To-Point Transportation Networks


Mr. Michael J. Kelly
Mr. A.C. Charania
Dr. John R. Olds

SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. (SEI)


Various organizations, both public and private, are currently developing the next generation of high-speed flight vehicles. Many of these vehicles are being designed for very specific missions depending on the business models within which they are being funded. The FastForward study, led by analysts at SpaceWorks Engineering, Inc (SEI), is investigating the feasibility of a global point-to-point transportation network that could be served by various hypersonic vehicle concepts. The notional networks connect various sets of cities worldwide with hypersonic links, allowing for high-speed delivery of, in this case, high-priority commercial packages. With input from various individuals and organizations in the space community as well as the commercial shipping industry, SEI has several interdependent models used to gain a deeper understanding of the requirements and implications of such a network. One of these models is used to compare vehicle capabilities to the capabilities of existing package delivery services, and measure how much improvement is possible along these long-distance international routes. A second uses Rockwell Automation’s discrete event simulation software Arena to simulate a network as a whole, determining for a given vehicle what fleet size and turnaround time are needed to support worldwide operations. Additional models take outputs from these two and allow analysis of a standalone business case for hypersonic point-to-point package delivery. Whether for use in analyzing independent shipping or passenger networks, or for investigating alternative allocations of future vehicle concepts, these tools can lead to important insights into both the capabilities and challenges of a global transportation network.

Bibliographic Reference:

Kelly, M., Charania, A., Olds, J., "Simulating Global Hypersonic Point-To-Point Transportation Networks," AIAA-2009-6403, AIAA SPACE 2009 Conference & Exposition, Pasadena, CA, September 14-17, 2009.