SINGLE STEP TO ORBIT:
A FIRST STEP IN A COOPERATIVE SPACE EXPLORATION INITIATIVE
Bruce Lusignan and Shivan Sivalingam*
Stanford University, email: email@example.com
The Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) proposed at the end of the Cold War by President Bush and Premier Gorbochlev was another attempt to ease the disarmament process by giving the bloated war industries something better to do. The engineering talent and the space rockets could be used for peaceful pursuits, notably for going back to the Moon and then on to Mars with human exploration and settlement. A Stanford-Russian Mars mission study used Russia's Energia launchers, priced at $300 Million each. The mission totaled out to $71.5 Billion, to send a six-person crew to establish a Mars base and return. It was an on going international venture with plans for new crews, base expansion, and extended exploration at every two year opportunity
However, an alternative approach suggested by several corporations is viable, The Single step to Orbit (SsTO) uses a conventional heavy lift cargo plane to bring a fully fueled rocket plane to 30,000 or 40,000 feet Mere it is released. From that altitude with the help of wing lift and Liquid Hydrogen-Liquid Oxygen fuels, the rocket plane can make it to Low Earth Orbit with a useful payload. The Stanford study concluded that the version proposed by Capt. Mitchell Clapp of Pioneer Rocket has advantages. In this approach the rocket plane loaded with the payload and liquid hydrogen flies up to the cargo plane using standard jet engines. It docks with the carrier and loads on liquid oxygen. If the cargo plane is the Antonov 225; the world's largest cargo aircraft, the system can deliver about 9.5MT to Low Earth Orbit.
The paper describes how the SsTO can be developed by the U.S. and European commercial aircraft sectors, subcontracting significant components to the Russian industry as a means of bringing them efficiently into the global economy.
* Stanford University, email: firstname.lastname@example.org