OPTIMIZATION OF RECOVERY TRAJECTORIES FOR SPACE VEHICLES.
Final scientific rept.,
TRAINING CENTER FOR EXPERIMENTAL AERODYNAMICS RHODE-SAINT-GENESE (BELGIUM)
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It is shown that optimum recovery conditions must be defined as the ones which minimize an overall dead-weight which must include the fuel for eventual rocket braking outside the atmosphere, and the mass which is ablated for heat protection into the atmosphere. The results indicate that when chemical or nuclear propulsion is considered, pure atmospheric braking will always be the best solution, but when electrical propulsion is used, an optimum compromise between partial rocket and atmospheric braking may exist, depending upon the respective properties of propulsion system and ablating material. Author