Aquarius (rocket)

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Aquarius
Aquarius rocket.png
Function SSTO Expendable launch system
Manufacturer Space Systems/Loral, Aerojet, Microcosm
Country of origin United States
Size
Height 43.00 m (141.00 ft)
Diameter 4 m (13.10 ft)
Mass 130 000 kg (10 000 kg empty) (287 000 lb)
Stages 1
Capacity
Payload to LEO 1000 kg (2200 lb) to a 200 km orbit
Launch history
Status Cancelled
Launch sites Hawaii
Total launches 0
First stage
Engines 1
Thrust 400,000 pounds-force (1.8 MN)
Burn time
Fuel LOX/LH2

Aquarius was a low-cost launch vehicle concept designed by Space Systems/Loral to carry small, inexpensive payloads into LEO.

Concept[edit]

The vehicle was primarily intended for launching bulk products, like water, fuel, and other consumables, that are inexpensive to replace in the event of a launch failure. The target launch cost was $1 million. Aquarius was designed to be a single-stage vehicle 43 meters (141 ft) high and 4 meters (13.1 ft) in diameter and powered by a single pressure fed engine using liquid hydrogen and oxygen propellants stored in a composite pressure tank.[1] Launch would have taken place from a floating position in the ocean to minimize launch infrastructure with the ability to place a 1,000-kilogram (2,200 lb) payload into a 200-kilometer (120 mi), 52-degree orbit. The payload, located in the base of the vehicle, would be extracted by an orbiting space tug for transfer to its ultimate destination, like the ISS or a propellant depot, after which the vehicle would de-orbit and be destroyed.[2]

Vortex Cooled Chamber Wall Engine[edit]

Space Systems/Loral teamed with Microcosm, and Wilson Composite Technologies to study Aquarius under a $110,000 grant awarded by the state of California in April 2001 and delivered a final report in June 2002. Funding of $1 million was provided in the FY 2004 Defense Appropriations Act to develop a prototype of the low-cost engine for the vehicle. The engine would provide 400,000 pounds-force (1.8 MN) of thrust using liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as propellants. For the engine development, Space Systems/Loral is partnered with Aerojet, ORBITEC and Microcosm, under the auspices of the Air Force Research Laboratory and was completed in 2006.[3][4] It confirmed that an ORBITEC engine design with inherently low cost can be scaled up to an intermediate thrust level, from which the next scale-up step to Aquarius should be achievable. [5][6]

COTS bid[edit]

The proposal made with Constellation Services International for Commercial Orbital Transportation Services in 2006 was not selected.[7]$150 million was the planned development cost, as part of a $700 million project (that included a space tug). 100 launches per year were needed to be profitable. One third of the launches were by design allowed to fail. Target costs were $1 million per launch or $1000/kg to LEO.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "aquarius". astronautix.com. Retrieved February 13, 2012. 
  2. ^ Andrew E. Turner (January 30, 2006). "Low-cost launch and orbital depots: the Aquarius system". thespacereview.com. 
  3. ^ Andrew E. Turner, Aaron Leichner (2006-10-24). "Hydrogen Pressurization of LOX: High Risk/High Reward". dtic.mil. 
  4. ^ Andrew E. Turner (2005). "AQUARIUS LOW COST LAUNCH MAIN ENGINE STUDY". AIAA. responsivespace.com. p. 24. 
  5. ^ "2004 U.S. COMMERCIAL SPACE TRANSPORTATION DEVELOPMENTS AND CONCEPTS: VEHICLES, TECHNOLOGIES, AND SPACEPORTS". Commercial Space Transportation Office. p. 15. 
  6. ^ Andrew W. Turner ; William H. Knuth (March–April 2006). "The Vortex Cooled Chamber Wall Engine: A Tamed Tornado". SPACE TIMES Magazine. 
  7. ^ "Space Systems/Loral Proposes Bus for NASA's Cargo Needs" (Press release). Space News. 2007-12-10. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-10. 
  • Space Time magazine, May/June 2001

External links[edit]