NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Analysis of Parallel Burn Without Crossfeed TSTO RLV Architectures and Comparison to Parallel Burn With Crossfeed and Series Burn ArchitecturesThere are currently three dominant TSTO class architectures. These are Series Burn (SB), Parallel Burn with crossfeed (PBw/cf), and Parallel Burn without crossfeed (PBncf). The goal of this study was to determine what factors uniquely affect PBncf architectures, how each of these factors interact, and to determine from a performance perspective whether a PBncf vehicle could be competitive with a PBw/cf or SB vehicle using equivalent technology and assumptions. In all cases, performance was evaluated on a relative basis for a fixed payload and mission by comparing gross and dry vehicle masses of a closed vehicle. Propellant combinations studied were LOX: LH2 propelled orbiter and booster (HH) and LOX: Kerosene booster with LOX: LH2 orbiter (KH). The study conclusions were: 1) a PBncf orbiter should be throttled as deeply as possible after launch until the staging point. 2) a detailed structural model is essential to accurate architecture analysis and evaluation. 3) a PBncf TSTO architecture is feasible for systems that stage at mach 7. 3a) HH architectures can achieve a mass growth relative to PBw/cf of < 20%. 3b) KH architectures can achieve a mass growth relative to Series Burn of < 20%. 4) center of gravity (CG) control will be a major issue for a PBncf vehicle, due to the low orbiter specific thrust to weight ratio and to the position of the orbiter required to align the nozzle heights at liftoff. 5 ) thrust to weight ratios of 1.3 at liftoff and between 1.0 and 0.9 when staging at mach 7 appear to be close to ideal for PBncf vehicles. 6) performance for all vehicles studied is better when staged at mach 7 instead of mach 5. The study showed that a Series Burn architecture has the lowest gross mass for HH cases, and has the lowest dry mass for KH cases. The potential disadvantages of SB are the required use of an air-start for the orbiter engines and potential CG control issues. A Parallel Burn with crossfeed architecture solves both these problems, but the mechanics of a large bipropellant crossfeed system pose significant technical difficulties. Parallel Burn without crossfeed vehicles start both booster and orbiter engines on the ground and thus avoid both the risk of orbiter air-start and the complexity of a crossfeed system. The drawback is that the orbiter must use 20% to 35% of its propellant before reaching the staging point. This induces a weight penalty in the orbiter in order to carry additional propellant, which causes a further weight penalty in the booster to achieve the same staging point. One way to reduce the orbiter propellant consumption during the first stage is to throttle down the orbiter engines as much as possible. Another possibility is to use smaller or fewer engines. Throttling the orbiter engines soon after liftoff minimizes CG control problems due to a low orbiter liftoff thrust, but may result in an unnecessarily high orbiter thrust after staging. Reducing the number or size of engines size may cause CG control problems and drift at launch. The study suggested possible methods to maximize performance of PBncf vehicle architectures in order to meet mission design requirements.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Smith, Garrett (International Space Systems, Inc. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Phillips, Alan (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
November 4, 2002
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
Meeting Information
39th Joint Propulsion Conference(Huntsville, AL)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits