Sirius: A New Launch Vehicle Option for Mega-LEO Constellation Deployment
Way, David Wesley
Olds, John R.
MetadataShow full item record
Tremendous growth in the satellite communication market is expected within the next decade. In particular, the market for services based in low earth orbit (LEO) is booming. Large constellations of satellites will soon be deployed with capabilities ranging from modest paging services to high bandwidth, data transfer systems. Constellations in the latter category are referred to as Mega-LEO constellations. Deployment of Mega-LEO constellations will place tremendous demands on international launch capabilities. Current expendable booster capability, reliability, availability, and price are all issues. This research tests the hypothesis that a new, low cost launch vehicle can be developed specifically to deploy a Mega-LEO constellation and still be economically competitive. A fictitious Mega-LEO constellation called Orion was created to set mission requirements. Aggressive launch cost goals and launch rates were established. A new two-stage system with a reusable booster was designed to meet the challenge - Sirius. This paper includes the results of the conceptual vehicle design activity including both technical and economic data. Details on the multidisciplinary design optimization methodology employed are also included.