Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV) Independent Performance Evaluation

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Young, David Anthony
Krevor, Zachary C.
Tanner, Christopher
Thompson, Robert W.
Wilhite, Alan W.
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The crew launch vehicle is a new NASA launch vehicle design proposed by the Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS) to provide reliable transportations of humans and cargo from the earth’s surface to low earth orbit (LEO). ESAS was charged with the task of looking at the options for returning to the moon in support of the Vision for Space Exploration. The ESAS results, announced in September 2005, favor the use of shuttle-derived launch vehicles for the goals of servicing the International Space Station after the retirement of the STS and supporting the proposed lunar exploration program. The first launch vehicle to be developed is the Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV), which will be operational by 2012, and will be derived from a four-segment Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) and an upper-stage powered by an expendable version of the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME). The CLV will be capable of sending approximately 60,000 lbs to LEO in the form of a Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) as well as a Service Module (SM) to support the CEV. The purpose of this paper is to compare the published CLV numbers with those computed using the design methodology currently used in the Space System Design Laboratory (SSDL) at The Georgia Institute of Technology. The disciplines used in the design include aerodynamics, configuration, propulsion design, trajectory, mass properties, cost, operations, reliability and safety. Each of these disciplines was computed using a conceptual design tool similar to that used in industry. These disciplines were then combined into an integrated design process and used to minimize the gross weight of the CLV. The final performance, reliability, and cost information are then compared with the original ESAS results and the discrepancies are analyzed. Once the design process was completed, a parametric Excel based model is created from the point design. This model can be used to resize CLV for changing system metrics (such as payload) as well as changing technologies.
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