An Evaluation of Two Alternate Propulsion Concepts for Bantam-Argus: Deeply-Cooled Turbojet+Rocket and Pulsed Detonation Rocket+Ramjet

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St. Germain, Brad David
Olds, John R.
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The Bantam-Argus reusable launch vehicle concept is a smaller version of the original Argus single-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle design. Like the original Argus, Bantam-Argus uses a Maglifter launch assist system to provide an initial horizontal launch velocity. Bantam-Argus is designed to deliver 300 lb. payloads to low earth orbit and, like the full sized Argus, the baseline Bantam-Argus concept utilizes two liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen supercharged ejector ramjets as prime motive power. This paper presents the results of an investigation of two alternate propulsion systems for the Bantam-Argus launch vehicle. First, a thermally integrated combined- cycle system consisting of two deeply-cooled turbojets and two liquid rocket engines was evaluated. Second, a combination propulsion system utilizing two pulsed detonation rocket engines and two standalone ramjets was evaluated. The results show that both alternate propulsion systems have the potential to reduce both the dry weight and gross weight of the baseline Bantam-Argus concept (when resizing the vehicle while holding mission payload constant). The pulsed detonation rocket engine option is particularly attractive. However, these results must be treated with caution given the relative immaturity of the supporting propulsion data available for both alternatives. Trade studies on key performance parameters were performed to bound the potential gains to be expected from either alternative.
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