Vehicles capable of lifting very large and heavy payloads into low earth orbit (LEO) will be needed to support certain large-scale space missions being considered for the late 1990-2000 time period. These missions include the support of strategic national commitments, large space power systems, and interplanetary and lunar exploration. Nearer term missions will utilize the Space Shuttle and its direct derivatives, the Shuttle-Derived Vehicles (SDV), currently being defined under NASA and DOD sponsored studies.
A conceptual design of a Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle (HLLV) that will lift a half million pounds to low earth orbit is presented. Design alternatives and key system design problems and issues are discussed. The new developments required, such as a new large liquid booster engine and Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) modifications, are identified. New candidate launch locations and launch facility requirements are also discussed. The commonality and utilization of the booster stage “elements” as a liquid booster for a “growth” Space Shuttle are conceptually defined.