1991-04-01

NASP: A National Utility Review 911170

Numerous articles have described the goals, management structure, and technical accomplishments of the National Aero-Space Plane (NASP) program. This paper describes how the technology from NASP may enable new operational vehicle concepts; presents the impact of hydrogen fuel on hypersonic transport designs; and for the space transportation role, describes a first generation hydrogen fueled operational vehicle. A national space launch architecture is presented which reflects the requirements of military, civil, and commercial users. The ability of existing and planned systems to satisfy space launch requirements are compared with architectures involving NASP Derived Vehicles (NDVs). Unique operational capabilities are explained, and the ability of NDV's to “normalize” space access is also presented. The operations, support, and launch infrastructure necessary to support such a vehicle is described. Details of a notional “space base” including cryogenic facilities and personnel requirements is provided. The objective of this paper is to describe space launch architecture options in support of existing and growth space transportation requirements.

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