Potential Air Force TSTO

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Astro_Robert

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Av-Week had a brief article on an Air Force study about a potential successor to EELV & Shuttle (as little as the Air Force used Shuttle).

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/awst/2010/09/20/AW_09_20_2010_p76-253108.xml&headline=Air Force Study Points To Reusable Orbiter&channel=defense

The article summarizes an almost complete study that indicates a potential to use a Reusable booster with a top mounted orbiter powered by Rocket Based Combined Cycle (RBCC) engines. The stack would launch vertically and land horizontally. RBCC is essentially a ramjet/scramjet (no turbine) that can convert to all rocket mode at higher altitudes. The ongoing air force study liked this concept as it saved on both landing gear weight and on propulsion system weight as compared to other study concepts.

I don't personally believe the timeline quoted in the Av-week article, but I guess the Air Force needs to have some kind of baseline.
 
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