Space rapid transit - A two stage to orbit fully reusable launch vehicle

Michael Paluszek, Joseph Mueller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Space Rapid Transit (SRT), is a horizontal-takeoff launch vehicle that will revolutionize both the space launch and flight transportation industries. To break the cycle of escalating space launch systems cost, it is necessary to consider concepts that are drastically different from current launch options. SRT is a fully reusable two stage to orbit vehicle. The Ferry Stage is powered by a dual fuel coaxial turbofan ramjet. The turbofan stage uses jet fuel while the ramjet uses hydrogen. The Orbiter uses liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engines. Stage separation is at Mach 6.5 at 40 km. The full system, Ferry with reusable Orbiter, is expected to deliver payloads to low earth orbit for less than $300 USD/kg. The horizontal takeoff design ensures successful rapid launch; recovery and turn around for the vehicle. Aborts without the loss of the vehicle are possible throughout launch. Both stages use common avionics and software to reduce development and operations costs. Electric actuation and green RCS engines further reduce operational costs. SRT provides a clear path for the development and implementation of advanced technologies. The technology is scalable from vehicles that can deliver 600 kg to the ISS to versions that could bring 6 or more crew members into orbit. The composite thermal protection system for the first stage would allow speeds in excess of Mach 10 allowing for introduction of scramjet engines as they become available. Ultimately it could become a single stage to orbit vehicle. SRT could also lead to hypersonic airliners and cargo aircraft as it would provide a platform for development of hypersonic aircraft and engines. This paper presents the latest work on SRT including simulation results, engine design, CFD studies and cost and safety analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication65th International Astronautical Congress 2014, IAC 2014
Subtitle of host publicationOur World Needs Space
PublisherInternational Astronautical Federation, IAF
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781634399869
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Event65th International Astronautical Congress 2014: Our World Needs Space, IAC 2014 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: Sep 29 2014Oct 3 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
ISSN (Print)0074-1795


Other65th International Astronautical Congress 2014: Our World Needs Space, IAC 2014


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