Big dumb booster

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Big Dumb Boosters (BDB) are a general class of launch vehicle built around the idea that it is cheaper to mass-produce and operate large, strong, heavy rockets of simple design than it is to build a few smaller, lighter, more cleverly designed ones.[not verified in body]

Even though the large booster is less efficient for an all around operation, its total cost of operation is cheaper because it is easier to build, operate and maintain. As with all forms of mass production, it is likely that, as builders gain more experience with production of parts and construction, and more production infrastructure is established, costs may go down further. However, in having a bigger rocket, a smaller number of rockets need to be produced to launch a certain mass of payload into orbit, thereby working against mass production.[not verified in body]


Concept work was led by proponents at Aerospace Corporation, TRW, and Aerojet General, beginning in the late 1950s. The typical formula included maraging steel (HY-140) for structure, pressure-fed engines using N2O4/UDMH, later LOX/RP-1, with pintle injectors scaled up from TRW's Lunar Module Descent Engine (LMDE).[1] TRW developed and fired several engines, including their TR-106 a robust, low-cost engine of 250,000 pounds thrust to demonstrate the engine technology readiness.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schnitt, Arthur (1998) Minimum Cost Design for Space Operations Foyle.
  2. ^ Dressler, Gordon A. and J. Martin Bauer (2000) TRW Pintle Engine Heritage and Performance Characteristics AIAA 2000-3871.