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Cheap Access to Space (CATS)

and
Minimum Cost Design (MCD)
Presented by:
Jonathan D. Stevenson
Pratt & Whitney UTC
MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series
January 15, 2002

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 1

Overview

What is CATS?
Why is space launch so expensive?
What are Minimum Cost Design (MCD) methodologies?
Historical MCD launch vehicles.
Recent (1990-) launch vehicles.
What about Re-usable Launch Vehicles (RLVs)?

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 2

What is CATS?

Acronym for Cheap Access to Space.


Contest sponsored by the Space Frontier Society announced in Fall 1997:
$50,000 to first team to launch 2 kg cylinder to 75 km altitude.
$250,000 to first team to launch 2 kg to 200 km altitude.
$300,000 if same team accomplished both.

Contest expired November 8, 2000 - no winners.


Technical issues aside, last minute government bureaucracy stalled at least one
of the contenders (i.e. JP Aerospace).
There is a similar contest for manned space access (XPrize) - $10M to first
non-government team to launch 3 persons to 100 km, recover safely and repeat
within 2 weeks!

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 3

Why Is Space Access So Expensive?

It is difficult but not impossible (Simply a question of energy expenditure!)


The majority of present launch vehicles have been derived from military
missile projects where costs and economics have not been an important
criteria. Launch capability and national prestige were the main drivers.
Also, precedent set in 1960s (within NASA) towards 100% success at ALL
COSTS, and on a tight schedule too:
You Can Waste Anything - except Time and the Crew!
No incentive for re-use of vehicles, which were originally military-missile
based (i.e. rounds). Imagine if airliners were used for a single flight?
Politically - development of cutting-edge technology and razor-edge
performance more attractive then re-use of known technology.

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 4

Current Launch Costs

Current costs are in the range of $7-10K/kg for man rated vehicles
Launcher

Payload to LEO

Launch Cost ($)

Cost per kg

Saturn V
(historical only)

118 T (includes
SIVB, 47T Apollo)

~$431M (1967)

$3,653
($9170 just
Apollo)

Space Shuttle

27.5 T

~$245M (1988,
based on 6/yr)

$8,909

Ariene IV (44L)
Ariene V

10.2 T
16 T

$125M
$180M

$12,255
$11,250

Atlas IIIA
Delta III
Titan IV

8.6 T
8.3 T
17.7 T

$105M
$90M
$400M

$12,209
$10,843
$22,599

Zenit-3SL

~15T (est. from


5250kg to GTO
20 T
5.5 T

$90M

$6,000

$50M
$40M

$2,500
$7,272

$26M
$11M
$20M

$13,000
$27,500
$10,000

Proton
Soyuz

LM Athena-2
2T
Pegasus (OSC)
400 kg
Taurus
2000 kg
Source: www.astronautix.com

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 5

What About the Shuttle?

During Apollo, each Saturn V cost approximately $431M to launch.


Shuttle proposals in 1969-1970 era promised considerable cost savings
(estimate at the time ~$40M per launch).
The need to develop new state-of-the-art aerospace technology was also
attractive, especially to the aerospace industry!
However, Shuttle now costs ~$250-400M per launch.
This figure is highly political and quite difficult to nail down. Range above
is based on 1988 data (from post-Challenger commission).
Current costs are probably closer to $400M value, based on recent ISS budget
discussions.
Current budget problems with ISS were at least partially blamed on cost of
STS missions (or rather, lack of savings following USA takeover of operations
in 1998).

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 6

How to Attain Low Earth Orbit (LEO)


(B) 200 km LEO:
V = 7789 m/s (T ~ 90 min)

200 km

(A) Launch:
V = 463 m/s at Equator
V= 328 m/s at 45 degN

EARTHS ROTATION

For 200 km LEO, Change in Energy Needed (per kg):


PE = mg h = (1)(9.81m/s2)(200x103 m) = 1.962 MJ
KE = KEB - KEA = ? mV B2 ? mV A2 = ?(1)(7789m/s) 2 ?(1)(328m/s) 2 = 30.28 MJ
Total E = 32.242 MJ
This is roughly the same energy content in about 7 kgs of TNT.
Most of the energy gain is KE (i.e. speed gain)!
Interesting thing is CATS contest only required an altitude NOT orbit!

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 7

Rocket Equation (Single Stage):


Velocity Increase ( V) = c ln (mo/mf) - gravity losses drag losses
where,
c = effective exhaust velocity (Isp x g)
mo = Initial mass (inert + fuel)
mf = Final mass (at end of stage burn)
gravity losses = g (t sin ) (time of burn x angle wrt horizontal)
drag losses ~ 5% of total (not closed form requires integration)
Also,
MR = vehicle mass ratio = mf/mo
= propellant mass fraction = 1 - MR

Bottom line:
Even with very good liquid fueled rockets (H2-LOX, Isp ~ 385 sec) Single
Stage to Orbit (SSTO) requires mass ratio >87%.
Situation even more restrictive with RP-1 based liquids and solid fuel.

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 8

Using Multiple Stages:


Total V = V1 + V2 +
= c1 ln (1/MR)1 + c2 ln (1/MR)2 + .. g (t1 sin 1 + t2 sin 2 + ) drag
Assuming same rocket engine design (same c), optimum solution is when MR is same for
all stages, and also the same V per stage.
i.e. Total V (Optimum) = equal V per stage
Solution is not closed-form if gravity and drag terms are to be included. Requires a
computer numerical solution.

Implications:
Permits less efficient mass ratios per stage (80-85%).
Strap-on boosters, which function only during first 10-20 km of altitude gain,
can be quite low (80%).
If majority of atmosphere (<10 km) could somehow be skipped, there is a
weight savings (e.g.. Motherships, Rockoons)

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 9

Minimum Cost Design Methodology

Aerojet used some independent research and development funding in the early
1960s to explore various cost aspects of space launchers.
Through these studies, the corporation developed a set of five design rules:
Big
Simple
Reusable
Not necessarily maximum reliability or performance
Dont push state of the art (use existing technology)
A huge MCD concept, the Sea Dragon was output of this effort.

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 10

Examples of MCD Choices

Turbopumps versus Pressurized Tanks


Cryogenic versus storable liquids
LOX-H2 versus LOX-RP
LOX versus High Test H2O2 (HTP)

Liquid versus Solid fuel (Isp limits)

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Slide 11

Example: Turbopumps or Pressurized?

Ref: Sutton Rocket Propulsion Elements 6th Ed.

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Slide 12

Early MCD Proposals (1960s)

Aerojet Sea Dragon


McDonnell-Douglas and Chrysler MCDs
Rockwell and Boeing MCDs
Detailed Boeing study.
TRW MCDs.

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 13

Aerojet Sea Dragon (early 1960s)

SATURN V
(363 ft tall)
Payload 118T to LEO

15-Jan-2002

SEA DRAGON
(429 ft tall)
Payload 500T to LEO

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 14

Aerojet Sea Dragon (early 1960s)

Probably the largest rocket ever conceived (note size versus Saturn V).
Both stages pressurized:
First Stage RP-1/LOX, rated at 356 MN (80 Million Pounds).
Second Stage H2/LOX.

Sea launched:
Towed to offshore launch site.
Fueled, plus ballast added so vehicle stood vertical,
Launched from submerged attitude.

Rugged pressurized design allowed fairly rough water landings without


damage (good for re-use).
500T to LEO at estimated cost of under $620/kg (some estimates as low as
$70/kg depending on sea operations methods).

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 15

Chrysler and McDonnell-Douglas MCDs (1968-69)

Chrysler MCD

15-Jan-2002

McDonnell-Douglas MCD

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 16

Chrysler and MD Designs (1968-69)

Designs were very similar:

First Stage used pressurized RP-1/LOX designs.


Second stage would be a Saturn IVB (Built by MD).
Chrysler booster rated at 21.526 MN (4.84 Mlb).
MD booster rated at 21.5 MN (4.63 Mlb).
Payload for both 45,360 kg (100,000 lb) to LEO.

Chrysler MCD launch cost estimated at $752/kg ($341/lb).

McDonnell-Douglas MCD launch cost estimated at $767/kg ($348/lb).

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 17

Rockwell and Boeing MCDs (1968)

Rockwell MCD

15-Jan-2002

Boeing COVL III

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 18

Rockwell and Boeing Designs (1968)

North American Rockwell MCD launch vehicle:

Two-stage booster could place 20,400 kg payload into LEO.


Stages used pressure-fed LOX/RP-1 systems using a single engine.
First stage thrust 20.1 MN (4.52 million pounds).
Unit cost for booster estimated as $28.2M.
Launch cost estimated at $1380/kg ($626/lb).

Boeing Cost Optimized Launch Vehicle (COLV III):

15-Jan-2002

Three-stage booster could place 15,420 kg payload to LEO.


Three tandem stages, using "double bubble" spherical tank arrangement.
All three stages would use TRW pressure-fed engines.
First stage thrust 12 MN (2.7 million pounds).
Unit cost for booster estimated as $14.4M.
Launch cost estimated as $936/kg ($424/lb).

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 19

Boeing MCD Study(1969-1970)

Boeing awarded 7 month $1M contract in July 1969 to determine level of


effort and feasibility of a MCD booster..
Initially proposed tandem double bubble design (similar to 1968 COLV III).
Eventually chose parallel staging due to enhanced cost savings.
Design used pressure-fed TRW engines for all stages.
High degree of design commonality between stages.
Family of launchers were designed with payloads of 11,340, 22,680, and
45,360 kg to LEO.
Launch cost estimated as $924-$1,437/kg (worst case for polar).
In an independent assessment, Aerospace Corp. calculated the launch costs to
be somewhat higher, $1,605-$2,425/kg.

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 20

TRW MCD Concepts (1969)

TRW has proposed a number of MCD booster concepts over the years.
Was involved in early Sea Dragon evaluation efforts, plus enjoyed remarkable
success with simple, pressure-fed rockets in 1960s, including the LEM engine.
Examples of proposed MCDs include:
MCD Liquid Strap-on Replacement for the Titan SRMs (1968).
A 9 member family of MCD Boosters for NASA (for use until 1985).

The baseline launch vehicle was a three-stage expendable booster with a


payload of 60,000 kilograms (133,000 pounds) to LEO.
TRW estimated the total launch cost (including ground support and processing
costs) to be $1,235/kg.

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 21

A Lost Opportunity? (1970)

Shuttle proposal period (1969-70)


MCD booster concepts fulfilled the wishes, expressed by Nixon, to
reduce space costs.
However, the Shuttle embodied the dream of the future, many new
technologies, etc. (plus more development dollars and jobs!)
The stated NASA plan (1970) was to field the shuttle, then build a
permanent space station.
MCD concepts quietly disappeared.

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 22

More Lost Opportunities (1980s)

A proposal for a parallel Titan fleet (to augment Shuttle) was


political damaging in early 1980s, just as first Shuttle flights
began (USAF Undersecretary at the time got in some hot water
even proposing it).
TRWs 1981 proposed a Low Cost Surrogate Shuttle Booster
(LCSSB) - the 60,000 lb baseline design.
The LCSSB was essentially an updated version of one of the
original 1969 TRW designs, but was ignored.
Ironically, the Titan IV was pressed into service for precisely
this capability following the Challenger accident (and at great
cost).

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 23

Revised TRM Proposal (1981)

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Slide 24

OTA Workshop (1987)

In August 1987 an article that appeared in Newsweek generated a


renewed interest in MCDs.
The Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) conducted a workshop
in December 1987 to allow discussion of the concept among aerospace
community experts.
However, there was the prevailing perception that the USAF Advanced
Launch System program already embraced most of the principles of
designing for minimum cost.

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 25

Recent Interest in MCDs (1990s)


The SEALAR Development Effort (1988-1991):

A revival of the Sea Dragon concept, championed by Truax


Engineering Inc (TEI) and support by the Naval Research Laboratory's
Naval Center for Space Technology (NCST).
Through a phased approach TEI envisioned a sea-launched system
with Shuttle-class lift capability (dubbed the Excaliber).
Navy only wanted 4500 kg LEO capability, which TEI dubbed
Subcaliber (about 1/80 scale of Sea Dragon).
Despite early successes, development effort encountered technical
problems, including pressurized tank failure.
Funding cancelled before first flight test (1991).

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 26

PacAstro (early 1990s)

Low cost booster intended to serve small satellite


launch community at low cost.
Expendable, two-stage booster using pressurized
LOX/RP-1 (First stage thrust of 69,700 lb).
Payload of 250 kg to 750 km polar orbit.
Launch cost estimated to be $5M (FY93)
resulting in $20K/kg cost.
Although higher then larger launchers on a per
kg basis, total cost still considered competitive
versus existing launchers.
The Norwegian and Swedish space agencies
tentatively chose PacAstro for up to 8 launches
annually starting in 1996.
However, PacAstro failed to raise the funds
needed to complete any vehicles.
(See founder Rick Fleeters essay at:
www.mindspring.com/~rfleeter/OLDfivelessons.htm)

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 27

Microcosm(1984-present)

Low cost design, similar to Boeings


USAF MCD launch vehicle (1969).
Central sustainer plus 6 parallel strap-ons
(all using pressurized LOX/RP-1
propulsion).
Payload capacity of 6,232 kg (13,740 lb).
Current status of this design unknown.
Microcosm successfully launched a suborbital technology demonstrator called
Scorpius recently (March 2001).
According to Microcosm, this will lead
to a family of low cost boosters.
(See www.smad.com/ie/ieframessr2.html)

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 28

BEAL BA-2 (1996-2000)

15-Jan-2002

Perhaps the ONLY true MCD Big DUMB


Booster concept in recent history.
Large (205 ft long, 20 ft dia).
Consisting of three stages with pressure-fed engines
(Kerosene and H2O2), using wound composite
graphite casing technology.
First stage thrust of 1500T!
Third stage engine was successfully tested in 1999
(30,000 lb thrust). Second stage engine (rated to
810,000 lb thrust) successfully tested in 2000 largest engine test since Saturn V! (VIDEOCLIP)
17000 kg to LEO or 6000kg to GTO.
Launch site was to be Sombrero Island in the
Caribbean (and maybe Guyana).
Development terminated in October 2000 by
Andrew Beal, citing NASA SLI and US Export
restrictions (see letter at www.bealaerospace.com).

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 29

Sea Launchs Zenit (current)

A joint venture between US, Russian,


Ukrainian and Norwegian companies.
Sea-launched from modified Oil Platform
in Pacific.
Booster is a modified Zenit-3SL booster
(turbo-pumped LOX/RP-1)
Payload of 5250 kg to GTO (roughly
same as Ariene V).
Operational since 1999.
6 out of 7 successful launches to date.

Courtesy of Sea Launch

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


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Slide 30

MCD versus RLVs

Focus now is on Re-usable Launch Vehicles (RLVs) as means to reduce costs.


Another major reason for RLV interest now (in US) is the aging Shuttle fleet,
which will need replacement by next decade.
However, most RLVs are not MCDs.
Indeed, some concepts such as NASP and X-33 go in precisely the opposite
direction (highly advanced technologies requiring years of development and
ALOT of research funding).
Many recent RLV initiatives have failed because the development risk and
costs were underestimated!
The original concept of X vehicles also seems to have become blurred (one
should expect a few failures - best learning tool!)
Have Space programs become too success oriented?

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 31

McDonnell Douglas DC-X (1993-96)

15-Jan-2002

Built to demonstrate reusable VTOL


rocket with aircraft-like operation.
LOX / LH2 fueled, using four
gimbaled RL-10C engines.
8 successful flights (1993-96),
including successful, safe abort.
Was rebuilt to DC-XA configuration
to increase the flight envelope.
On fourth flight (July 1996) vehicle
lost due to landing gear failure.
Larger version proposed for X-33.
Program terminated after LM X-33
contract win (1996).

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 32

The Roton Rotary Rocket (1996-2000)

15-Jan-2002

Fully reusable, SSTO vehicle.


Crew 2, payload 7,000 lbs. to LEO.
Vertical takeoff using rotary engine
burning LOX and jet fuel.
Re-entry end-first with assistance from
space-deployed rotor.
Rotor, with tip thrusters, would provide
autorotation for landing (could also be used
for launch abort).
Could land/takeoff anywhere!
Prototype built and rotor system tested
successfully in 1999.
Liquid engine development delayed - Fastrac
engine would be used initially.
Encountered serious funding problems in
2000 (CEO resigned July 2000).
Ceased development by Dec 2000.

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


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Slide 33

Lockheed Martin X-33/VentureStar (1996-2001)

Joint LM-NASA effort (1996-2001).


First phase: Sub-orbital X-33 (1/3 scale).
Many new, risky technologies:

15-Jan-2002

Linear aerospike engines


Composite cryogenic tank (for LH2)
Metallic thermal protection system
Lifting Body design.

By end 1999 - new launch facility


completed near Edwards AFB and vehicle
construction 70-80% complete.
Significant problems caused slippage of
schedule (2+ years).
Failure of composite LH2 tank in Fall 2000
caused major delay.
X-33 program terminated (March 2001)
after cancellation of NASA funds.

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 34

Orbital Science Corp X-34 (1997-2001)

Joint OSC-NASA project. LOX / LH2


fueled, using four gimbaled RL-10C
engines.
Launched from L-1011 Mothership
(similar to Pegasus)
58 ft long technology demonstrator,
capable of Mach 8 flight using:
Fastrac engine (LOX/RP-1).
New thermal protection system
Autonomous glider landings

15-Jan-2002

OSC planned to produce 3 prototypes,


with increasing capability (up to suborbital vehicle).
NASA funding cancelled March 2001,
with announcement of SLI.

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 35

The Kistler K-1 (current)

15-Jan-2002

First stages uses three modernized


Russian NK-33 engines (1 Mlbs.).
Second stage uses single NK-43
engine (395,000 lbs. thrust).
Payload to 200 km LEO in 40005000 kg range.
Re-usable (100x per vehicle) with
Air Freight-like frequency and
cost.
Two launch sites planned (Nevada,
USA and Woomera, Australia).
Just received $135M contract from
NASAs SLI.
Routine K-1 fleet orbital operations
planned to begin in 2003.

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 36

What about SLI?

The Shuttle fleet is approaching its original design life (25 years or 100
launches) - will need replacement/upgrades soon!
NASA, as part of new Space Launch Initiative (SLI), has targeted a goal of
reducing space launch cost to $1000/lb (~$2.2K/kg).
Note that the Saturn V was able to place a 118T payload into LEO for an
average cost of $3,653 per kg in 1967!
Does SLI help or hinder truly independent non-governmental activities? (e.g.
Beal Aerospace launcher)
SLI initiatives appear aimed for 2020 and beyond, and are somewhat
muddled at the moment. (e.g. Why no X-33/X-34 support?)

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 37

Summary

Two schools of thought remain on the future of space access:


Use existing technology/MCD techniques (e.g. Kistler K-1, Beal BA-2)
Develop advanced technology space planes (e.g. X-33, NASP, X-43) as
future shuttle replacement.

NASAs SLI appears focused on the latter approach.


For more info: http://std.msfc.nasa.gov/sli/index.html

Which approach will ultimately carry the day? Stay tuned - the next 10 or
so years will be critical!

15-Jan-2002

MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 38

Bibliography
Much of the material used in this presentation came from the following sources.
These are excellent resources for follow-on study:
1. LEO on the Cheap, John R. London III, Lt Col, USAF Research Report No. AU-ARI-938, Air University Press, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, October 1994.
(www.spacecityone.com/genastro/leocheap_ch9.htm)

2. How Much New Technology is Required for Future Reusable Launch Systems?, Dietrich
E Koelle, International Symposium on "Impact of Space Technology on Economic
Development", Shanghai/China, April 17-20, 2001.
(www.spacefuture.com/archive/how_much_new_technology_is_required_for_future_reusable_launch_systems.shtml)

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MIT Rocket Team Lecture Series


J.D.Stevenson PW UTC

Slide 39