Recovery and Reuse of a Two Stage Launch Vehicle 640297
This paper presents the results of studies conducted for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, under Contracts NAS 8–5135 and NAS 811123, on a two-stage Post Saturn Class II launch vehicle. The results of studies of various recovery modes, recovery logistics, retrieval and refurbishment operations, vehicle configurations, market requirements, sensitivities, and detailed cost evaluation are described.
As a result of these studies, it is concluded that recovery and reuse of the first stage is profitable for programs requiring 15 or more launches, and that recovery of both stages is profitable for programs requiring 20 launches or more. For a program requiring 115 successful launches, recovery and reuse provide savings of 20% of the total program cost and 40% of direct operating cost; also, the average cost of recovery and refurbishment is approximately 20% of new vehicle cost.