ROOST and Astro
American manned spaceplane. Study 1963. In 1963 Phil Bono of Douglas Aircraft considered a lenticular configuration for a single-stage-to-orbit reusable booster. This was the largest application found to date for the lenticular concept.
The 108-m diameter saucer would have delivered a million pounds of payload to low earth orbit. It was assessed as having a slightly inferior mass fraction to the baseline cylindrical ROOST design (0.925 versus 0.930) and a significantly higher delta-V requirement due to increased drag (9450 m/s total impulsive requirement vs 9100 m/s for the preferred ROOST concept). This drove the gross lift-off mass at the assumed vacuum specific impulse of 410 seconds to 45 million pounds versus 25 million pounds for the ROOST baseline. The design evidently went no further than a notional concept in the trade study.
Spacecraft delta v: 9,450 m/s (31,000 ft/sec).
Gross mass: 20,400,000 kg (44,900,000 lb).
More... - Chronology...
Unfuelled mass: 1,940,000 kg (4,270,000 lb).
Payload: 454,000 kg (1,000,000 lb).
Height: 120.00 m (390.00 ft).
Span: 108.00 m (354.00 ft).
Specific impulse: 410 s.
Lenticular Vehicles For a brief period in 1959-1964, NASA and the US Air Force actively considered launching manned flying saucers into space. Although very much in tune with UFO mania and science fiction films of the times, the concept lost out to other aerodynamic concepts. More...
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
Douglas American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Boeing Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach, CA, USA. More...
Lox/LH2 Liquid oxygen was the earliest, cheapest, safest, and eventually the preferred oxidiser for large space launchers. Its main drawback is that it is moderately cryogenic, and therefore not suitable for military uses where storage of the fuelled missile and quick launch are required. Liquid hydrogen was identified by all the leading rocket visionaries as the theoretically ideal rocket fuel. It had big drawbacks, however - it was highly cryogenic, and it had a very low density, making for large tanks. The United States mastered hydrogen technology for the highly classified Lockheed CL-400 Suntan reconnaissance aircraft in the mid-1950's. The technology was transferred to the Centaur rocket stage program, and by the mid-1960's the United States was flying the Centaur and Saturn upper stages using the fuel. It was adopted for the core of the space shuttle, and Centaur stages still fly today. More...
Bono, Philip, "Design Objectives for Tomorow's Big Boosters", Advanced in the Astronautical Sciences, 1963.
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