Exploration of the Design Space for the ABLV-GT SSTO Reusable Launch Vehicle

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Bradford, John Edward
Olds, John R.
Bechtel, Ryan S.
Cormier, Timothy A.
Messitt, Donald G.
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The ABLV-GT is a conceptual design for an advanced reusable launch vehicle based on the current NASA Langley ABLV concept. It is a Vision Vehicle class, horizontal takeoff, horizontal landing singlestage-to-orbit vehicle. Main propulsion is provided by Aerojet's 'Strutjet' LOX/LH2 rocket-based combined cycle engine design. The ABLV-GT is designed to deliver 25,000 Ibs. to the orbit of the International Space Station from Kennedy Space Center. This paper will report the findings of a conceptual design study on the ABLV-GT performed over the last year by members of the Space Systems Design Lab at Georgia Tech. This work has been sponsored by the Advanced Reusable Transportation Technologies program office at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Details of the concept design including external and internal configuration, mass properties, trajectory analysis, aerodynamics, and aeroheating are given. This vehicle study resulted in the closure of 18 different vehicle designs. The trade variables included air-breathing transition Mach number, mechanical versus thermal choke engine, and payload weight. Initial results for a vehicle with a turbine-powered lowspeed propulsion system were generated and will be presented. Finally, a low earth orbit concept with a reduced payload weight will be shown.
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