Responsive Access Small Cargo Affordable Launch (RASCAL) Independent Performance Evaluation
Young, David Anthony
Olds, John R.
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RASCAL is a United States Defense Department initiative that stands for Responsive Access, Small Cargo, Affordable Launch. The overall launch concept involves three stages. The first stage will consist of a reusable aircraft similar to a large scale Air Force fighter. The first stage will also utilize Mass Injection Pre-Compressor Cooling (MIPCC) turbojet engines that will propel the stage to approximately two hundred thousand feet before releasing the second and third rocket stages. The first stage will be similar to a large fighter of the F-22 class, although the turbofans will be that of the more available F100 class. The MIPCC system will be a plug-in addition to the engines to help high altitude performance. This stage will act as a first stage in the RASCAL architecture and will contribute significantly to the overall acceleration of the vehicle. The second and third stages of the RASCAL concept consist of expendable rockets. Releasing the upper stages outside the atmosphere will reduce the loads on the stages as well as the risk of staging. Also by relying on the reusable portion for all atmospheric flight, the expendable stages can be designed simpler and therefore cheaper. The purpose of this project is to compare the published RASCAL numbers with those computed using a design methodology currently used in the Space System Design Laboratory (SSDL) at The Georgia Institute of Technology. When the initial Space Launch Corporation design was evaluated using the SSDL methodology it was found to fall short of the performance as well as the cost goals set by DARPA for the RASCAL program. The baseline vehicle was found to only carry 52 lbs to the 270 nmi sun synchronous orbit. Several alternatives were evaluated off of the baseline design. The best of these alternatives can meet DARPA’s performance goals and reach the cost goals of $5,000 per pound of payload with eight first stage vehicles flying 46 times per year for a total of 363 flights per year. Different economic cases were also evaluated to try and meet the cost goals in a less ambitious number of flights per year. It was found that if the DDT&E was paid for by another party (NASA, DOD, etc.) the cost goals can be met with just three vehicles flying 42 times per year for a total of 125 flights per year.