Earth Orbital Logistics Spacecraft: Performance Aspects and Vehicle Concepts 680367
The paper is composed of two parts. The first reviews some implications of hypersonic performance with special emphasis on return of logistics spacecraft from orbit to the continental U.S. Among the factors considered are quick return, delayed return with varying and fixed wait time, relation of wait time to return opportunities, relation of maneuverability to clear-weather recovery and night landing, propulsive orbit phasing, propulsive plane change, and recovery costs. Some observations of the whole are made in relation to current spacecraft capability and future needs.
The second part of the paper surveys representative vehicle concepts ranging from low to high hypersonic lift-drag ratios. Particular attention is centered on landing modes and their implications. Among the concepts discussed are fixed and variable geometry for runway landers, and decoupled modes, such as parawing and sailwing devices, deployable rotors, and propulsive lift. Some observations are made of potential benefits and current deficiencies.