Conceptual design analysis for a two-stage-to-orbit semi-reusable launch system for small satellites

Maddock, Christie and Toso, Federico and West, Michael and West, Joanne and Kontis, Kostantinos and Rengarajan, Sriram and Evans, David and Milne, Andy and McIntyre, Stuart (2017) Conceptual design analysis for a two-stage-to-orbit semi-reusable launch system for small satellites. In: 68th Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress. International Astronautical Federation (IAF), AUS.

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    Abstract

    This paper presents the conceptual design and performance analysis of a partially reusable space launch vehicle for small payloads. The system uses a multi-stage vehicle with rocket engines, with a reusable first stage capable of glided or powered flight, and expendable upper stage(s) to inject 500 kg payload in different low Earth orbits. The space access vehicle is designed to be air-launched from a modified aircraft carrier. The aim of the system design is to develop a commercially viable launch system for near-term operation, thus emphasis is placed on the efficient use of high TRL technologies. The vehicle design are analysed using a multi-disciplinary design optimisation approach to evaluate the performance, operational capabilities and design trade-offs. Results from two trade-offs studies are shown, evaluating the choice wing area and thus aerodynamic characteristics, and the choice of stage masses and engines selection on the mission performance.