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The Crossbow Air Launch Trade SpaceEffective air launching of a rocket is approached from a broad systems engineering viewpoint. The elementary reasons for why and how a rocket might be launched from a carrier aircraft are examined. From this, a carefully crafted set of guiding principles is presented. Rules are generated from a fundamental foundation, derived from NASA systems study analyses and from an academic vantage point. The Appendix includes the derivation of a revised Mass Multiplier Equation, useful in understanding the rocket equation as it applies to real vehicles, without the need of complicated weight and sizing programs. The rationale for air launching, being an enormously advantageous Earth-To-Orbit (ETO) methodology, is presented along with the realization that the appropriate air launch solution may lie in a very large class of carrier aircraft; the pod-hauler. Finally, a unique area of the system trade space is defined and branded Crossbow. Crossbow is not a specific hardware design for air launch, but represents a comprehensive vision for commercial, military and space transportation. This document serves as a starting point for future technical papers that evaluate the air launch hypotheses and assertions produced during the past several years of study on the subject.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Bonometti, Joseph A. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Sorensen, Kirk F. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2006
Subject Category
Air Transportation and Safety
Report/Patent Number
AIAA Paper 2006-7277
Meeting Information
AIAA Space 2006 Conference(San Jose, CA)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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