Lifting Center-Body Land Recoverable Booster Concept 670398
A new concept for land recovery of launch vehicle stages is described. After burn out and separation of a conventional cylindrical booster configuration, the outer tank portions are discarded, leaving a lifting shaped center-body capable of re-entry, pull out, flyback and landing. The essential features are the application of intersecting pressure vessel theory for shaping the tanks and the simple arrangement of hinged tail panels (dive brakes). The panels are used for stabilization and deceleration during the re-entry phase and fold back in sequence during the pull out maneuver and transition into an aerodynamic lifting body configuration of low wing loading. In conclusion, the concept promises the following advantages:
No essential weight increase versus expendable stages.
Maximum use of existing and proven stage hardware and launch facilities.
Conversion of rocket stage into a well-defined controllable aircraft for land recovery, without deployment shock and residual disposal problem.