1010. Shuttle/Centaur – A Low Cost Space Transportation System for High Energy Missions


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C F Peters, E I Seiden: 1010. Shuttle/Centaur – A Low Cost Space Transportation System for High Energy Missions. 1974.



Many space missions projected for the 1980’s and 1990’s will require energy levels beyond those the Shuttle Orbiter can provide. Projected requirements involve payload deployment, retrieval, round-trip, and on-orbit servicing missions, dictating the need for a high-energy upper stage, or Space Tug. Requirements postulated for the Space Tug include high performance at a low design, development, testing, and evaluation (DDT&E) cost.
The existing Centaur cryogenic upper stage can readily be modified for use with the Shuttle Orbiter to perform the projected high-energy missions in 1980-1984. The Centaur modification could be minimal for an expendable stage configuration; or it could involve redesigned versions that could ultimately perform the reusable-stage missions. These versions would provide a safe, highly reliable, low-risk, high-capability, evolutionary Space Tug at a modest development cost.
This paper describes several types of Shuttle/Centaur space transportation systems designed to meet various levels of performance within different funding constraints. Weight breakdowns are presented to substantiate the high mass fractions and performance capabilities of these configurations; areas where performance is sacrificed for cost are noted. In developing these configurations, a ‘design-to-cost’ philosophy was applied. This philosophy results in a new design environment, one in which cost becomes the most important design driver. In this environment, weight efficiency becomes essential only if it results in the most cost-effective design. This idea may be foreign to many weight engineers, requiring some re-orientation of their modus operandi.


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