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Title: Air liquefaction and enrichment system propulsion in reusable launch vehicles

A concept is shown for a fully reusable, Earth-to-orbit launch vehicle with horizontal takeoff and landing, employing an air-turborocket for low speed and a rocket for high-speed acceleration, both using liquid hydrogen for fuel. The turborocket employs a modified liquid air cycle to supply the oxidizer. The rocket uses 90% pure liquid oxygen as its oxidizer that is collected from the atmosphere, separated, and stored during operation of the turborocket from about Mach 2 to 5 or 6. The takeoff weight and the thrust required at takeoff are markedly reduced by collecting the rocket oxidizer in-flight. This article shows an approach and the corresponding technology needs for using air liquefaction and enrichment system propulsion in a single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) vehicle. Reducing the trajectory altitude at the end of collection reduces the wing area and increases payload. The use of state-of-the-art materials, such as graphite polyimide, in a direct substitution for aluminum or aluminum-lithium alloy, is critical to meet the structure weight objective for SSTO. Configurations that utilize `waverider` aerodynamics show great promise to reduce the vehicle weight. 5 refs.
Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Rockwell Int. Corp., Downey, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
45848
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Propulsion and Power; Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 4; Other Information: PBD: Jul 1994
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
33 ADVANCED PROPULSION SYSTEMS; 32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; ROCKET ENGINES; DESIGN; COMPOSITE MATERIALS; MECHANICAL PROPERTIES; PROPULSION SYSTEMS; LIQUEFACTION