Location

Palo Verde

Topic Area

SPACE

Abstract

This article discusses the conceptual design, flight trajectory calculations, and utilization of the possible future horizontally-launched reusable Single-Stage-to-Orbit (SSTO) spaceplane for small payload short-duration manned/unmanned access to Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO). The 10,000 lb spaceplane would use 5,000 ft catapult-assist horizontal-launch facility and conduct powered approach and landing on conventional horizontal paved runways following the gliding atmospheric re-entry. To increase the economy of operation, the launch facility located at high elevations (4,000+ ft) equatorial region is required, such as, the plateaus in Kenya and Tanzania in Africa and/or Ecuador in South America. A 500-lb payload, including pilot-commander, is envisioned. The propulsion cycle is a Rocket-Based Combined Cycle (RBCC) turbo-ram-rocket design that provides optimistic 1,000 sec average specific impulse with LO2 (rocket mode only) and requires high-energy-density fuel of combined specific impulse of Isp=700 sec. Ablation materials are used for re-entry cooling, however incurring high weight penalty. The 3g catapult-system with the average launch power of 20,000+ HP represents the zeroth-stage significantly increasing the transportation efficiency while enabling the SSTO design. Catapult system would be able to accelerate the spaceplane to high transonic speeds followed by the supersonic turbo-ram 2g max-Q climb initiated after sufficient altitude is gained. The 12,500 lb thrust rocket propulsion mode initiated at about 200,000 feet and M=5 accelerates the spaceplane into the 200-km prograde LEO. Powered flight lasts about 6 minutes followed by coasting and orbit acquisition. Thrust vectoring for attitude control and orbital maintenance/maneuvers is conventional using thrusters with monopropellants. Dynamic differential equations incorporating global ISA model, atmospheric drag, thrust changes, and active pitch and roll steering maneuvers for orbit injection are integrated using Ordinary Differential Equations (ODE) numerical solvers. Some of several possible uses of this small-payload spaceplane is in assisting space junk removal, transportation, and mini satellite deliveries.

Start Date

15-1-2016 2:00 PM

End Date

15-1-2016 3:30 PM

Chair/Note/Host

Chair: Sarah Nilsson, ERAU-PC

Keywords

Low Earth Orbit, Single-Stage-to-Orbit, Catapult Launch, Reusable Spaceplane, Horizontal Takeoff and Landing, Atmospheric Reentry, Rocket-based Combined Cycles propulsion, Space utilization

 
Jan 15th, 2:00 PM Jan 15th, 3:30 PM

Early Afternoon Concurrent Panel Sessions: Commercial Space Industry Snapshot: Presentation: Small Catapult-Assisted Horizontal-Launch Reusable RBCC SSTO Spaceplane for economical short-duration LEO access

Palo Verde

This article discusses the conceptual design, flight trajectory calculations, and utilization of the possible future horizontally-launched reusable Single-Stage-to-Orbit (SSTO) spaceplane for small payload short-duration manned/unmanned access to Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO). The 10,000 lb spaceplane would use 5,000 ft catapult-assist horizontal-launch facility and conduct powered approach and landing on conventional horizontal paved runways following the gliding atmospheric re-entry. To increase the economy of operation, the launch facility located at high elevations (4,000+ ft) equatorial region is required, such as, the plateaus in Kenya and Tanzania in Africa and/or Ecuador in South America. A 500-lb payload, including pilot-commander, is envisioned. The propulsion cycle is a Rocket-Based Combined Cycle (RBCC) turbo-ram-rocket design that provides optimistic 1,000 sec average specific impulse with LO2 (rocket mode only) and requires high-energy-density fuel of combined specific impulse of Isp=700 sec. Ablation materials are used for re-entry cooling, however incurring high weight penalty. The 3g catapult-system with the average launch power of 20,000+ HP represents the zeroth-stage significantly increasing the transportation efficiency while enabling the SSTO design. Catapult system would be able to accelerate the spaceplane to high transonic speeds followed by the supersonic turbo-ram 2g max-Q climb initiated after sufficient altitude is gained. The 12,500 lb thrust rocket propulsion mode initiated at about 200,000 feet and M=5 accelerates the spaceplane into the 200-km prograde LEO. Powered flight lasts about 6 minutes followed by coasting and orbit acquisition. Thrust vectoring for attitude control and orbital maintenance/maneuvers is conventional using thrusters with monopropellants. Dynamic differential equations incorporating global ISA model, atmospheric drag, thrust changes, and active pitch and roll steering maneuvers for orbit injection are integrated using Ordinary Differential Equations (ODE) numerical solvers. Some of several possible uses of this small-payload spaceplane is in assisting space junk removal, transportation, and mini satellite deliveries.