Rocket Propulsion Technology Impact on TSTO Launch System Cost
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB EDWARDS AFB CA PROPULSION DIRECTORATE WEST
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The benefits of advanced liquid rocket propulsion technology are evaluated for two-stage-to-orbit TSTO reusable launch systems. Life cycle cost LCC is used as a figure-of-merit and is driven by high launch rate requirements. This paper reports the methods and results of that study. The reported analysis focused on chemical rocket propulsion using either hydrogen or hydrocarbon fuels, and oxygen or high purity hydrogen peroxide as oxidizers. Results indicate that advanced rocket propulsion can cut life cycle costs in half and recurring costs cost for additional flights by a factor of three. The most important propulsion parameter to be improved for this class of vehicle is the reusability of the rocket engines, with performance improvements a distant second. Additionally, a TSTO vehicle using liquid oxygen and hydrocarbon propellants in both stages has the lowest LCC. Results were relatively insensitive to engine reliability and cost.
- Liquid Propellant Rocket Engines
- Liquid Rocket Propellants