A Single-Stage Reusable Launch Vehicle Concept
Yunusov, Abbos Muradovich
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A reusable VTVL (vertical take-off, vertical landing), all-rocket SSTO (single-stage-to-orbit) launch vehicle is proposed to reduce the cost of space transportation. The concept vehicle is based on presently-existing or near-term technology, and incorporates several features to improve performance, including all-composite construction, lightweight pressure-stabilized tankage, and the use of a HIAD (hypersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerator) - an inflatable heatshield - to return from orbit. Several different types of main engines, consuming various fuels, are considered. An ad-hoc MATLAB code is used to predict the empty mass of the vehicle, quantify the sensitivity of the design to empty mass growth, and the system life-cycle cost. A vehicle powered by tripropellant engines based on RD-701/RD-704 technology consuming liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen and methane fuels is identified as the best performer.