Accession Number : ADA333343

Title :   Proceedings of the RAND Project AIR FORCE Workshop on Transatmospheric Vehicles

Corporate Author : RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA

Personal Author(s) : Gonzalez, Daniel ; Eisman, Mel ; Shipbaugh, Calvin ; Bonds, Timothy ; Tuan Le, Anh

PDF Url : ADA333343

Report Date : 1997

Pagination or Media Count : 115

Abstract : Transatmospheric vehicles (TAVs) are envisioned as a new type of reusable launch vehicle that could insert payloads into low earth orbit or deliver them to distant targets within minutes. Such a vehicle may be able to carry out several types of military, civil, and commercial missions. In past decades, a number of military TAV concepts have been proposed, but a complete operational vehicle has never been built. The promise of TAVs is that because of their reusability they could launch payloads at much lower cost than existing rockets. In addition, if they were operated more like aircraft and less like rockets, they could enable responsive and flexible space operations, features that would be useful for a number of military missions. This report summarizes the proceedings of a workshop and subsequent research into questions raised at the workshop. We examine potential missions and their implications for vehicle design, cost, and size. A variety of contractor TAV design concepts were presented and discussed, including designs currently being developed for the NASA X-33 and X-34 programs.

Descriptors :   *AEROSPACEPLANES, *LAUNCH VEHICLES, *RECOVERABLE SPACECRAFT, PAYLOAD, AIR FORCE RESEARCH, LOW ORBIT TRAJECTORIES, MILITARY APPLICATIONS, LIFE CYCLE COSTS, AEROSPACE INDUSTRY, SPACE MISSIONS, VERTICAL TAKEOFF AIRCRAFT, VERTICAL LANDINGS.

Subject Categories : Unmanned Spacecraft

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE