Maximum aerodynamic pressure of a spacecraft is the maximum force it's hull can withstand during flight. How is the Max-Q of a spacecraft determined?

Other related ( optional) queries are:

  • If Max-Q is also measurable on the ground, how are the simulated external forces applied to the DUT( Device Under Test)?

  • Which part of the craft is most vulnerable to such aerodynamic stress?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Please, ask one question per question. If you have multiple questions, ask multiple questions. Your first question seems to have a rather simple answer, though: aerodynamic pressure is force pushing against the vehicle. You test it by pushing against the vehicle. $\endgroup$ Commented May 8, 2021 at 5:39
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @JörgWMittag a careful reading of the original question shows that the OP was not really asking about MaxQ, but instead asking about testing for the maximum dynamic pressure that a rocket can actually experience before failure. Within this context I think the three aspects of the question are suitable for answering all together and probably don't need to be separated out into three different questions. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 8, 2021 at 6:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A lot of modeling and simulation is done beforehand to predict stress/vibration loads from the chosen design. $\endgroup$
    – Paul
    Commented May 8, 2021 at 13:16
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @JörgWMittag How is the force applied to the vehicle structure? $\endgroup$ Commented May 8, 2021 at 17:11
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ If the question is asking "Does the actual vehicle structure get tested to max q on the ground" the answer is no. $\endgroup$ Commented May 8, 2021 at 20:07


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