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Infrastructure for Reusable Vehicles The next generation of Space Travel Eric Jensen ASTE 527
Background • Large, existing government-owned launch sites • Can they help usher in new methods of efficient access to LEO? • Surpassing antiquated launch support methods • Commercialization • Retain lessons learned, safe practices • Assisted air-launch • Conventional vertical rocket launch • Shaping 21st century public image
Assumptions • Earth-based launch/landing locations • Accommodate increased transatmospheric traffic • Impending commercial space travel needs • Development of launch facilities • New generation of vehicles • Global collaborative network • Streamlined processes • Minimization of costs • Utilize existing infrastructure where applicable • Worldwide vertical launch locations • Airport locations
Concept Architecture • Horizontal Launch/Landing • Minimally invasive revisions to current airports • Primarily support horizontal and air launch • Designated landing-only airports • Less modification • Develop new spaceports specifically designed for commercial space travel • Vertical Launch • Utilize existing facilities • Develop spacecraft to adapt to infrastructure • Enhance global collaboration, opening launch sites to both commercial and government use • Accommodate reusability • Install common refurbishment facilities at current vertical launch sites • Allowing rapid turn-around time for spacecraft
Horizontal Launch Sites • Existing runways at international hubs • Air-launch capabilities • Inject heavy payloads to orbit by flying them into launch windows (50,000ft) • Infrastructure already in place to support flight • Global network of locations • Accommodate landers with minimal development • Public identifies with/has access to existing locations • Prominent Media and PR support • Perceived high-level modifications • Runway parameters (typical for transatmospheric vehicles) • 15,000’ long with 1,000’ runoff at both ends • 400’ wide • Robust surface to cope with LV landing weight • On-site final assembly and propellant integration
Vertical Launch Sites • Accommodate existing ELV systems, as well as developing RLV technology • Vertical Launch/Landing • Large facility needed to accommodate vehicle assembly and integration • Basic design common to most launch locations Launch Pads Shuttle Landing Runway VAB
Limitations • Safety concerns • New regulations must be drafted for commercial use of government launch sites • Populated areas surrounding airports • Launch abort cases • Blast radius for stored propellant • Safety measures can be developed as they werefor Jet-A • Modification costs, complexity • Airport launch sites to contend with: • Launch noise • Mass of landers and launch vehicles • Support facilities for hazardous fuel and gases • Launch pad structure for vertical launch, if applicable • Crew accommodations • Air traffic • Horizontally and vertically launched LEO vehicles coinciding with nominal airport traffic
Forward Work • Global Collaboration • FAA, ICAO, others • Collectively develop new standards that do not limit commercial travel, but retain safety and high standards • Impact of transatmospheric traffic on world airways • Cost analysis of typical airport modification • Pursue commonality in launch facility layouts • Accommodate multiple LV configurations
References • International Civil Aviation Organization • www.icao.int • Space Tourism – A New Field for Space Law • Derek Weber, Director, Spaceport Associates • www.spaceportassociates.com • www.nasa.gov • www.virgingalactic.com