Technical and Economic Feasibility Analysis of a Two Stage Reusable Satellite Launcher Using RISCRAM™ Jet Engines 2017-36-0150
This study analyzes the design of a two-stage reusable satellite launch vehicle. This launcher was designed to orbit payloads of up to 500 kg to low orbits (LEO). Two RISCRAM™ jet engines (Rocket Ignited Supersonic Combustion Ramjet) power the first stage that is fully reusable. They aspirate atmospheric air and allows speeds of up to Mach 6, below 30 km, and Mach 15 above 40 km of altitude. The second stage is powered by a solid rocket motor that carries the payload at the orbital speed of Mach 24. In this work are presented details of the concept of the vehicle and an economic feasibility analysis of system operation. Launch cost estimative are made and compared to the values of the current satellite launchers that are not reusable. The conclusion of the article is that the proposed system would be able to reduce by an order of magnitude the cost of placing the kilogram of payload in low orbit.