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Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster Lightweight Recovery SystemThe cancellation of the Advanced Solid Rocket Booster Project and the earth-to-orbit payload requirements for the Space Station dictated that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) look at performance enhancements from all Space Transportation System (STS) elements (Orbiter Project, Space Shuttle Main Engine Project, External Tank Project, Solid Rocket Motor Project, & Solid Rocket Booster Project). The manifest for launching of Space Station components indicated that an additional 12-13000 pound lift capability was required on 10 missions and 15-20,000 pound additional lift capability is required on two missions. Trade studies conducted by all STS elements indicate that by deleting the parachute Recovery System (and associated hardware) from the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBS) and going to a lightweight External Tank (ET) the 20,000 pound additional lift capability can be realized for the two missions. The deletion of the parachute Recovery System means the loss of four SRBs and this option is two expensive (loss of reusable hardware) to be used on the other 10 Space Station missions. Accordingly, each STS element looked at potential methods of weight savings, increased performance, etc. As the SRB and ET projects are non-propulsive (i.e. does not have launch thrust elements) their only contribution to overall payload enhancement can be achieved by the saving of weight while maintaining adequate safety factors and margins. The enhancement factor for the SRB project is 1:10. That is for each 10 pounds saved on the two SRBS; approximately 1 additional pound of payload in the orbiter bay can be placed into orbit. The SRB project decided early that the SRB recovery system was a prime candidate for weight reduction as it was designed in the early 1970s and weight optimization had never been a primary criteria.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Marshall Space Flight Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Wolf, Dean
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Runkle, Roy E.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
May 15, 1995
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:111714
Meeting Information
Meeting: AIAA Aerodynamics Decelerator System Conference
Location: Clearwater Beach, FL
Country: United States
Start Date: May 15, 1995
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 554-14-21
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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