Shuttle Derived Launch Vehicles a Solution for Space Access
Furfaro, James A.
Johnson, Dennis G.
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President George W. Bush set the bold vision and charter for NASA to take the next steps in the exploration of our solar system in his announcement on 14 January 2004. This exploration initiative provides unique opportunities for the space community to work closely with NASA to accomplish tasks that have been planned since the Apollo era. In order for the NASA exploration initiative to be successful in today’s environment, it must be reliable, affordable, and sustainable within a realistic schedule. Trade studies indicate that a two stage, solid / liquid configuration using available heritage propulsion components is the most effective solution to meet NASA’s schedule for crew access to space and the International Space Station (ISS). Facilities and manpower are in place to process and refurbish stage components maintaining a man-rated launch vehicle infrastructure. A heavy lift vehicle configuration can be tailored to support Moon and Mars missions utilizing existing components. Lift capability can be expanded with five segment RSRM derivative boosters and an extended external tank. Shuttle derived launch vehicles provide the most reliable and effective solution to meet NASA’s exploration vision schedule.