An Early TSTO Fully Reusable Vehicle Design Used to “Calibrate” Stage 1 Combined-Cycle Hypersonic Propulsion Systems
Two-stage-to-orbit (TSTO) conceptual-level vehicle designs were evolved by the Lockheed-California Company in the mid-1960s. The purpose was to provide a vehicle-systems-level basis for assessing the payload performance potential of a new class of Stage 1 propulsion systems: combined-cycle airbreathing/rocket engines. TSTO configurations were also established as conventional all-rocket and all-airbreathing engine comparison cases. These vehicle designs and their operating characteristics, along with their orbital payload-delivery capabilities, are presented for consideration by today's space transportation systems planning community.