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GRC TBCC

Title: "Parametric Trades for Two-Stage-to-Orbit"

Sponsor: NASA Glenn

Objective: The project created a probabilistic design environment for “mile-wide, inch-deep” parametric trades for the Two-Stage-to-Orbit (TSTO) class of advanced reusable launch vehicles that allows to identify metric sensitivities of these concepts to mission, technology, and economic variables. The focus of this research was to examine the turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) propulsion concept and its permutations on selected access-to-space (AtS) system concepts in order to determine the impact of the TBCC configurations and technologies on the metric sensitivities.

The the tool allowed to perform such examination in a broad-based, exploratory manner, while still employing the proper level of fidelity in order to capture important considerations such as market economics and technology risk. Calculation and visualization of sensitivities were emphasized over the creation of detailed point optimal designs. Due to the nature of the TBCC concept, specific emphasis was on Two-Stage to Orbit (TSTO) options employing an air-breathing first stage.

The resulting sizing/synthesis computer code enables the modeling and simulation of selected AtS system concepts using first-principle relationships. This enables rapid exploration of tradeoffs between mission requirements (included market considerations), technology levels, and basic design concepts.