Large Launch Vehicles — Present and Future 690703

Large launch vehicle systems are examined in terms of design and operating characteristics and potential applications. A brief history of the development of Saturn V is followed by a discussion of potential cost-saving simplifications. Potentially attractive intermediate payload derivatives of Saturn V and the use of a nuclear third stage are considered along with potential missions. New concepts and technology discussed include low-cost expendable, partially reusable, and fully reusable systems in which the launch vehicle and spacecraft are integral. The need for, and desired characteristics of, a reusable “space shuttle” system are indicated and a brief description of alternate approaches to obtaining this system are presented.


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