The work discusses construction and application of an automated, distributed, industry-like multidisciplinary design optimization (MDO) environment employed to explore new conceptual designs of propulsion system turbomachinery components optimized for high-efficiency performance. The integrated CFD/MDO system is developed on the basis of commercially available optimization modules, and involves a user-friendly interface that provides an easy link to user-supplied response analysis modules. Various issues in the automated optimization procedure are addressed with focus on turbomachinery design, including the proper geometry parameterization, algorithm selection, and transparent interconnections between different elements of the optimization process. A test study considers the problem of an optimal blade design to maximize the aerodynamic performance of a low-speed fan. The approach employs a commercial CFD software, coupled with an unstructured mesh generator, as a response analysis tool. The ability of the applied Response Surface Optimization algorithm to find a global optimum of the objective function is examined.