The Case for Ballistic Recovery of Boosters 670382
This paper discusses the relative merits of ballistic versus lifting-body and Winged recovery techniques for space launch vehicles in the small-payload category. Costs and operational capabilities of vertical-takeoff vertical-landing (VTOVL) vehicles are compared with two variations of all-rocket, vertical-takeoff horizontal-landing (VTOHL) vehicles: winged first stage, lifting-body second stage and Winged first and second stages. In addition, three baseline configurations are discussed and compared. Problems associated with maximum vehicle versatility are identified and solutions are suggested.