ROMBUS - AN INTEGRATED SYSTEMS CONCEPT FOR A REUSABLE ORBITAL MODULE (BOOSTER AND UTILITY SHUTTLE)
DOUGLAS AIRCRAFT CO INC SANTA MONICA CA
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A conceptual design for a reusable surface-to-orbit manned cargo carrier which can deliver a payload of many hundreds of tons to a 175 nautical mile orbital altitude is defined. Recovery is accomplished by deployment of a subsonic drag device and terminal retro-thrust. Touch down on land is implemented by settling on four extensible legs, in a manner similar to the basic method which is being developed for landing on the moon. The vehicle is propelled by a conjectural altitude-compensating plug-nozzle engine which can be throttled for the landing maneuver. The paper tentatively concludes that the assumed high-chamber pressure LO2LH2 engines of altitude-compensating design with high expansion ratios would present a dramatic improvement over conventional engines, in achieving the desired objectives of minimum vehicle growth factors, and minimum program costs. It appears economically justified that the next generation of large launch vehicles should be reusable, single- stage-to-orbit, and developed to incorporate maximum mission flexibility.
- Unmanned Spacecraft