Orbital delivery of small payloads using hypersonic airbreathing propulsion

Smart, Michael K. and Tetlow, Matthew R. (2009) Orbital delivery of small payloads using hypersonic airbreathing propulsion. Journal of Spacecraft And Rockets, 46 1: 117-125. doi:10.2514/1.38784

Author Smart, Michael K.
Tetlow, Matthew R.
Title Orbital delivery of small payloads using hypersonic airbreathing propulsion
Journal name Journal of Spacecraft And Rockets   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-4650
Publication date 2009-01
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.2514/1.38784
Volume 46
Issue 1
Start page 117
End page 125
Total pages 9
Editor E Vincent Zoby
Becky Rivard
Place of publication Reston, VA., U.S.
Publisher American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject 090107 Hypersonic Propulsion and Hypersonic Aerodynamics
880305 Space Transport
Abstract Scramjet engines promise significantly higher specific impulse than rockets during the hypersonic phase of low- Earth-orbit insertion trajectories. Despite this, scramjets are not used on any current systems due to the difficulty of operating over the large Mach number envelope required by this accelerating trajectory. The key to taking advantage of airbreathing hypersonic engines for low-Earth-orbit insertion is to develop a multistage system that makes use of the scramjet only within its high-performance regime. Amultistage rocket-scramjet-rocket system that accepts this limitation has therefore been examined. This system includes a solid rocket boost to Mach 6, a near-term Mach 6–12 hydrogen-fueled scramjet engine to propel a reusable second stage, and a liquid-fueled final-stage rocket. Trajectory calculations for a system scaled to deliver approximately 100 kg to a 200 km equatorial orbit indicate payload mass fractions of approximately 1.5% with the use of a scramjet stage designed for low drag and efficient packaging. The goal of this work is to guide the future development of scramjets by identifying the areas that will make the most significant improvement to their use for space access.
Keyword Earth orbit
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

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Created: Fri, 19 Feb 2010, 15:10:38 EST by Ms May Balasaize on behalf of School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering