Single stage to orbit mass budgets derived from propellant density and specific impulse

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The trade between specific impulse (Isp) and density is examined in view of Single Stage To Orbit (SSTO) requirements. Mass allocations for vehicle hardware are derived from these two properties, for several propellant combinations and a dual-fuel case. This comparative analysis, based on flight-proven hardware, indicates that the higher density of several alternative propellants compensates for reduced Isp, when compared with cryogenic oxygen and hydrogen. Approximately half the orbiting mass of a rocket- propelled SSTO vehicle must be allocated to propulsion hardware and residuals. Using hydrogen as the only fuel requires a slightly greater fraction of orbiting mass for propulsion, ... continued below

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14 p.

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Whitehead, J. C. June 6, 1996.

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Description

The trade between specific impulse (Isp) and density is examined in view of Single Stage To Orbit (SSTO) requirements. Mass allocations for vehicle hardware are derived from these two properties, for several propellant combinations and a dual-fuel case. This comparative analysis, based on flight-proven hardware, indicates that the higher density of several alternative propellants compensates for reduced Isp, when compared with cryogenic oxygen and hydrogen. Approximately half the orbiting mass of a rocket- propelled SSTO vehicle must be allocated to propulsion hardware and residuals. Using hydrogen as the only fuel requires a slightly greater fraction of orbiting mass for propulsion, because hydrogen engines and tanks are heavier than those for denser fuels. The advantage of burning both a dense fuel and hydrogen in succession depends strongly on tripropellant engine weight. The implications of the calculations for SSTO vehicle design are discussed, especially with regard to the necessity to minimize non-tankage structure.

Physical Description

14 p.

Notes

OSTI as DE96012015

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  • 32. AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE joint propulsion conference and exhibit, Orlando, FL (United States), 1-3 Jul 1996

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  • Other: DE96012015
  • Report No.: UCRL-JC--122419
  • Report No.: CONF-960717--2
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 379977
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc679428

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  • June 6, 1996

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  • July 25, 2015, 2:20 a.m.

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  • Feb. 17, 2016, 4:15 p.m.

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Whitehead, J. C. Single stage to orbit mass budgets derived from propellant density and specific impulse, article, June 6, 1996; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc679428/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.