...I'm on of those nerds crunching numbers. Even worse, I develop CFD codes AND crunch numbers. And it's so much fun! Seriously. It's a blast. And I know for a fact that companies like SpaceX use engineering computer codes to reduce their costs and make what was not possible 20 years ago possible today. And the usage of these codes definitely enhance the learning experience.I'm surprised that I have not seen more computer analysis on this forum. It's been very minimal. To me there seems to be more arm waving then necessary. Disappointing, kind of scary, and somewhat saddening.

Here is another metric. I've been looking for an open source trajectory optimization code. I think it would be cool. Much more fun than the rocket equation. Sorry, for the younger generation the rocket equation is kind of boring. It doesn't stand a chance against a good interactive experience. But the codes I've found (POST, OTIS, TAOS, and Astros) are all restricted. Yes, I am very very very well aware of ITAR. And I've talked to the points of contact for two of the codes and have been told the inside story. The foundations for these codes, trajectories and optimization, are clearly in the public domain and are taught at the college level. It's not rocket science. And I've done similar programing for an optimization class in grad school. (However, that was for vehicles with lift and that stay in the atmosphere. A little more complex and a little more fun!) Of course a civilian could write a trajectory optimization program for the purpose of entertainment and education, and apply for a Commodity Jurisdiction request with the State Department. I believe the State Department must return a response within 60 days. And, here is the thing. No one has done it. There are no barriers and no one has done it. I guess this sort of thing just doesn't excite people. Yes, it is fun to see a rocket go up. But, people are not excited by the technology and design aspects of sending one up.

Orbiter is definitely a cool tool. But, my understanding from reading the literature and simcosmos's post is that the tool is open loop and the trajectories are not automatic. So it takes time and experience to set up a trajectory. (Granted this is true, to a certain extent, for an optimizer.)

So setting constraints (for example max g), and seeing the results of those constraints, is not a simple task with a pure trajectory code. Granted, if one is only interested in determining mass to orbit this may not be that important and the rocket equation is probably good enough. But, if someone is interested in taking engineering brainstorming to the next level, then more detail is necessary. And, LVs are interesting engineering problems in that they are very "simple" and very "complex" at the same time. So, should I read anything into the impression, at least to me, that there does not seem much need for this data at the non professional level?

Orbiter is definitely a cool tool. But, my understanding from reading the literature and simcosmos's post is that the tool is open loop and the trajectories are not automatic. So it takes time and experience to set up a trajectory. (Granted this is true, to a certain extent, for an optimizer.) So setting constraints (for example max g), and seeing the results of those constraints, is not a simple task with a pure trajectory code. Granted, if one is only interested in determining mass to orbit this may not be that important and the rocket equation is probably good enough. But, if someone is interested in taking engineering brainstorming to the next level, then more detail is necessary. And, LVs are interesting engineering problems in that they are very "simple" and very "complex" at the same time. So, should I read anything into the impression, at least to me, that there does not seem much need for this data at the non professional level?

One of the things which has always bothered me about the explanation of this subject is that there often seem to be two poles. There's the NPR science guy explanation; very broad brush, explicitly avoids math, general and not specific. Then there's the scientific paper; chock full of detailed explanations of part of the subject, assumes you know all the math already, etc.A middle way, if you will.Another thing is the software interface. What's the best way to present?Another thing is, the rest of the LV. What about the rocket? The nozzle? The injectors, turbopumps, RCS? The EDS? The Lander? The only book I've read is Sutton. How do you put it all together?

Another thing is, the rest of the LV. What about the rocket? The nozzle? The injectors, turbopumps, RCS? The EDS? The Lander? The only book I've read is Sutton. How do you put it all together?

SMADhttp://astrobooks.com/

This mission would take the crew 12 million kilometers from Earth or about 32 times the distance to the Moon, marking the first time that humans have gone beyond the gravity well of the Earth to venture into truly interplanetary space.