Status: Study 2004.
Aurora was a design of Ray Nielsen of Fundamental Technology Systems, Orlando, Florida. The rocketplane would takeoff and land horizontally from a conventional airfield. After takeoff at 204 kph the climb attitude would be continually increased to maintain subsonic flight until 18 km altitude was reached. At 24 km, and with a flight path angle nearly 75 degrees above the horizon, the engine would be commanded to 100% power. After main engine cut off Aurora would coast above 106 km. In preparation for re-entry, the pilot used an RCS to orient the spacecraft into the initial deceleration attitude, and the flight path angle was decreased until a turn-back toward the departure field could be initiated. The best glide profile was commanded until the downwind initial point for landing was achieved.