NASA and the U.S. Air Force have conducted a number of studies over the past few years to establish the technical feasibility of various large booster concepts and the associated cost, development, and operational characteristics. Many of these studies were performed by various industry agencies; the results then being assembled and interpreted by the cognizant Government agencies. Several of these studies were conducted by North American Aviation, Inc.
This paper summarizes some of the significant results of the NASA study of 6-12 million lb thrust launch vehicles (Saturn through Nova Class), contract NAS 8-899, which was conducted under the sponsorship of the Future Projects Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala. Included are selected study results, a summary of the vehicle types considered and their structural performance, operations, reliability, and economic characteristics. Liquid propellant, solid propellant, and nuclear vehicles are included with both orbital and escape mission capabilities. The material is supplemented to some extent with data from other studies, both in-house and Government sponsored.