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Re-usable concepts for space transportation flight vehicle engineering

Programme Reference
Prime Contractor
DLR - German Aerospace Center
Start Date
End Date
Prototype re-usable concepts for key technologies of space transportation systems targeting several transportations scenarios: Earth to orbit, Moon orbit transfer, landing. The key technologies to prototype are propulsion systems, aerothermodynamics and complex structures.
A reusable space transportation system is a space system intended to allow for recovery of all or part of the system for later reuse. The term ?reusable space transportation vehicle? refers to several different levels of reuse ranging from the entire vehicle to only parts of it. Reusable space transportation systems present the opportunity to reduce the cost of transportation and to provide capabilities that are not available right now.
For each of the technologies (propulsion, aerothermodynamics, and structures), the activity will identify and prototype the key equipment and components which would enable a step forward in re-usability. Departing from the current state of the art in modern components and materials technologies, the activity will identify re-usability at the levels of sub-equipment, equipment, and subsystems.
For each mission scenario (Earth to orbit, Moon orbit transfer, landing), the activity will select a representative mission with the aim to compare concepts using traditional technologies versus re-usable technologies allowing significant cost reduction while satisfying the technical and safety requirements of those missions.
Example of the missions are:
1) Earth to orbit launch. Trade-off between conventional expendable transportation systems vs Single State to Orbit SSTO transportation vs Two Stages to Orbit TSTO transportation systems vs re-usable.
2) Moon orbit transfer missions. Trade-off between conventional expendable transportation systems vs re-usable. This will consider several alternative propulsion technologies.
3) Landing mission both for return to Earth and planetary landers. Trade-off between conventional expendable transportation systems vs re-usable In addition for this last mission scenario, the activity will include the definition of test objectives of a vertical landing demonstrator mission.
The activity will provide a preliminary development (prototype) of the critical functions of the assembly of propulsion, structures, and aerothermodynamics of a selected mission scenario.
Application Domain
Space Transportation
Technology Domain
18 - Fluid Dynamics
Competence Domain
7-Propulsion, Space Transportation and Re-entry Vehicles
Initial TRL
Target TRL
Public Document