From Earth to Orbit

An Assessment of Transportation Options

Committee on Earth-to-Orbit Transportation Options

Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board

Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems

National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, D.C.
1992



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From Earth to Orbit: An Assessment of Transportation Options From Earth to Orbit An Assessment of Transportation Options Committee on Earth-to-Orbit Transportation Options Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D.C. 1992

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From Earth to Orbit: An Assessment of Transportation Options NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the panel responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. This study was supported by Contract NASW-4003 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 92-60204 International Standard Book Number 0-309-04726-9 Available in limited supply from: The Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20008 Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 S560 Printed in the United States of America

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From Earth to Orbit: An Assessment of Transportation Options COMMITTEE ON EARTH-TO-ORBIT TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS Joseph G. Gavin, Jr., Former President, Grumman (Ret.), Huntington, N.Y., Chairman Edmund Blond, Consultant, Aerospace Corporation (Ret.), Los Angeles, Calif. Yvonne C. Brill, Consultant, International Maritime Satellite Organization (Ret.), Skillman, N.J. Bernard Budiansky, Gordon McKay Professor of Structural Mechanics and Abbot and James Lawrence Professor of Engineering, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Robert S. Cooper, President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board, Atlantic Aerospace Electronics Corporation, Greenbelt, Md. Wolfgang H. Demisch, Managing Director, UBS Securities, New York, N.Y. Clark W. Hawk, Director, Propulsion Research Center and Professor, Mechanical Engineering, University of Alabama, Huntsville, Ala. Jack L. Kerrebrock, R.C. Maclaurin Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. Byron K. Lichtenberg, Payload Specialist, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Omega Aerospace, Incorporated, Virginia Beach, Va. Artur Mager, Consultant, Los Angeles, Calif. Frank E. Marble, Richard L. Hayman and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Professor of Jet Propulsion, Emeritus, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. Alton D. Slay, USAF (Ret.), President, Slay Enterprises, Inc., Warrenton, Va. Jasper A. Welch, Jr. USAF (Ret.), President, Jasper Welch Associates, Arlington, Va. Staff JoAnn Clayton, Director Allison C. Sandlin, Study Director Noel E. Eldridge, Staff Officer Maryann Shanesy, Project Assistant Anna L. Farrar, Administrative Associate

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From Earth to Orbit: An Assessment of Transportation Options AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD Duane T. McRuer, President and Technical Director, Systems Technology, Inc., Hawthorne, Calif., Chairman James M. Beggs, Senior Partner, J.M. Beggs Associates, Arlington, Va. Richard G. Bradley, Director, Flight Sciences, General Dynamics/Ft. Worth Division, Ft. Worth, Tex. Robert H. Cannon, Jr., Charles Lee Powell Professor and Chairman, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. Eugene E. Covert, Professor, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. Ruth M. Davis, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pymatuning Group, Inc., Alexandria, Va. Wolfgang H. Demisch, Managing Director, UBS Securities, New York, N.Y. Owen K. Garriott, Vice President, Space Programs, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Huntsville, Ala. John M. Hedgepeth, Consultant and Retired President, Astro-Aerospace Corporation, Santa Barbara, Calif. Robert G. Loewy, Institute Professor, Aeronautical Engineering and Mechanics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y. John M. Logsdon, Director, Center for International Science and Technology Policy, Space Policy Institute, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. Frank E. Marble, Richard L. Hayman and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Professor of Jet Propulsion, Emeritus, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. Garner W. Miller, Retired Senior Vice President for Technology, USAir, Naples, Fla. Franklin K. Moore, Joseph C. Ford Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Harvey O. Nay, Retired Vice President of Engineering, Piper Aircraft Corporation, Vero Beach, Fla. Frank E. Pickering, Vice President and Chief Engineer, Aircraft Engines, General Electric Co., Lynn, Mass. Anatol Roshko, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. Maurice E. Shank, Consultant and Retired Vice President, Pratt and Whitney of China, Inc., Bellevue, Wash. Thomas P. Stafford, Vice Chairman, Stafford, Burke, and Hecker, Inc., Alexandria, Va.

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From Earth to Orbit: An Assessment of Transportation Options Martin N. Titland, Chief Operating Officer, CTA, Incorporated, Rockville, Md. Albertus D. Welliver, Corporate Senior Vice President, Engineering and Technology, The Boeing Company, Seattle, Wash. Staff JoAnn C. Clayton, Director Noel E. Eldridge, Program Officer Martin J. Kaszubowski, Senior Program Officer Allison C. Sandlin, Senior Program Officer Anna L. Farrar, Administrative Associate Theresa M. Fisher, Administrative Assistant Christina A. Weinland, Administrative Assistant Susan K. Coppinger, Senior Secretary Maryann Shanesy, Senior Secretary

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From Earth to Orbit: An Assessment of Transportation Options Preface The National Research Council (NRC) was asked to make recommendations concerning future Earth-to-orbit transportation options. The following report was prepared during a time in our nation's history when all discretionary spending is undergoing close scrutiny. Thus, a major focus has been on approaches to reduce the costs of access to space while increasing reliability and resiliency. The NRC Committee on Earth-to-Orbit Transportation Options soon found that the most binding constraint to achieving these goals is the way we do business—launch vehicle assembly, payload processing, and launch pad design and availability. These facilities support the highways to space that enable the United States to pursue vital space interests. Like much of the nation's terrestrial infrastructure, they are in a state of obsolescence and disrepair. A clear imperative also exists to design vehicles and propulsion systems that do not need to be operated at the very limit of their performance. Together, the combination of more robust vehicles and a streamlined infrastructure holds the promise of more routine access to space and the benefits that would accrue in space science, national security, commercial enterprises, and the further exploration of space. This report sets forth the Committee's recommendations regarding the various space transportation options that are available to the United States. JOSEPH G. GAVIN, JR., CHAIRMAN COMMITTEE ON EARTH-TO-ORBIT TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS

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From Earth to Orbit: An Assessment of Transportation Options Contents     List Of Figures and Tables   1     Summary Of Key Findings And Recommendations   3     Launch Vehicles and Infrastructure   3     Propulsion   5     Technology   7     Terms, Acronyms, And Abbreviations   9 1.   Introduction   11     The Task   11     Approach   11     Economic Environment   12     National Policy Considerations   13     Acknowledgments   14 2.   A Path To A Desirable National Space Launch System   15     Support Facilities and Infrastructure Attributes   16     Launch Vehicle and Payload Attributes   17     Engine Attributes   20 3.   Projected Launch Requirements   22     Near-Term Requirements   22     Intermediate-Term Requirements   23     Long-Term Requirements   25

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From Earth to Orbit: An Assessment of Transportation Options 4.   Launch Vehicle Options   26     Current U.S. Expendable Launch Systems   26     Proposed U.S. Launch Systems   26     National Launch Systems (NLS)   28     Taurus   31     Medium Launch Vehicle III (MLV III)   31     Current U.S. Manned Systems   31     The Space Shuttle   31     Proposed U.S. Manned Systems   32     The Single-Stage Rocket Technology Program Delta Clipper (DC-Y)   32     National Aero-Space Plane   34     Assured Crew Return Capability   35     Existing International Launch Systems   36     Energia   36     Zenit   38     Ariane   38     Proposed International Launch Systems   38     Ariane-5/Hermes   38     Hotol   39     Sänger   39 5.   Propulsion Capabilities For Earth-to-orbit Launch Vehicle   40     History of Liquid and Solid Propulsion   40     Flight-Proven U.S. and International Engines and Motors   41     Flight-Proven U.S. Engines and Motors   41     Flight-Proven International Engines and Motors   47     Proposed U.S. and International Engines and Motors   49     Proposed U.S. Engines and Motors   49     Proposed International Engines and Motors   53     Engine and Motor Testing   54     System Reliability and Tests   54     Propulsion Test Facilities   55     Environmental Effects of Chemical Propulsion   57     Priorities for Investment   58     Space Transportation Main Engine   58     Space Shuttle Propulsion Systems   58     Priorities for Longer-Term Payoff   59     Engines   59     Booster Stages   59

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From Earth to Orbit: An Assessment of Transportation Options 6.   Technology Development   62     Propulsion Technologies   63     Hybrids   63     Modular Plug Engine   64     Modular Bell Engine   65     Virtual Staging Engine Concepts   66     Nuclear Propulsion and Power   67     Component and General Technologies   67     Materials Technologies   67     Health Monitoring of Rocket Systems   68     Connectors and Interfaces for Fuel and Electrical Systems   68     Guidance, Navigation, Control, and Autodocking   69     Launch Operation Technology Needs   69     Manufacturing Technologies   70     Conclusion   70     Biographical Sketches of Committee Members   72     Appendixes   77 A   An Approach to Space Infrastructure   77 B   List of Participants   84 C   Bibliography   88

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