Second Stage Launch Vehicle
Space Track Launch System
A more detailed review of the Phoenix SLV can be found in the Second Stage Requirements -
Addendum A paper. More details of the launch vehicle requirements for the second generation system can be found in the STLS Second
Stage Requirements paper. Use the comment form on the contact page if you wish to comment on the STLS concept. Be sure to review the
creative commons licenses. All comments and suggestions will be shared equally throughout the space access community.
The second stage is a liquid fueled launch vehicle (LV) designed to launch form the STLS. The launch vehicle attaches to an overcarriage. The overcarriage rest on top of the ribbon with the second stage hanging below. The overcarriage and launch vehicle travel down the ribbon accelerated by gravity, the centrifugal force, and the Coriolis force. At a predetermined point on the ribbon, the second stage seperates from the overcarriage and ribbon, the main engines ignite, and the launch vehicle proceeds to orbit. After delivering cargo or personnel to a space station, the launch vehicle reenters the atmosphere, returns to the launch site, and is refurbished and reused.
The Phoenix suborbital launch vehicle (SLV) is proposed for the 25 km proof of concept system. The main fuselage with crew cabin of the SLV will be designed similar to the Mercury space capsule. The main difference in design is the method of launch (i.e. hanging down from an overcarriage instead of on top of a booster), the addition of the inflated paraglider, the propellant tanks, the HTP/E85 rocket engine and nozzle, the duration of flight, and the recovery method. To demonstrate proof of concept, the SLV will separate from the overcarriage and the rotating ribbon at an altitude of approximately 25 km, boost under thrust, coast to a peak altitude greater than 100 km, reenter, and land on a runway an using inflated paraglider. The mass estimate for the SLV is approximately 7143 kg.
As currently envisioned the second stage launch vehicle for the second generation system, the pioneer express, will have a mass of about 80 ton, fit in a volume envelope measuring 16m x 10m x 5m, and have a payload capacity of approximately 1 metric ton. There are three classes of launch vehicle for the STLS, High Performance/High Technology (HP/HT), Medium Performance/Medium Technology (MP/MT), and Low Performance/Low Technology (LP/LT). For example, liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen propellants would be considered HP/HT, liquid oxygen/RP-1 would be considered MP/MT, and HTP/E85 would be considered LP/LT. The advantages and disadvantages of each class must be considered when selecting a launch vehicle.
Updated Jun 2016