Encyclopedia Astronautica

NAA Orbital Transfer
Credit: Mark Wade
Reusable Ten Ton Orb
Credit: NASA
American manned spaceplane. Study 1963. North American Aviation's Reusable Ten Ton Orbital Carrier Vehicle design of 1963 had as a standard payload a lenticular 12-man orbital transfer vehicle spaceplane for space station logistics and crew transfer.

The final concept resulting from the $342,000 NASA study contract had launch mass of 11,340 kg. Two crew plus ten passengers, or a mix of passengers and cargo, could be carried. The saucer-shaped body merged aft into a thick planform with vertical stabilizers along the base. Yaw thrusters were at the tops of the vertical stabilizers, the pitch thrusters above the engine bay, and the roll thrusters at the roots of the stabilizers. A single gimbaled engine provided thrust for orbital maneuvers. Crew access was via a 1.2-m-diameter hatch at the top of the saucer. The pilot used a periscope for forward vision during landing. Horizontal landing was on skid main gear and a wheeled nose gear, as on the same company's X-15.

The sled-launched rocketplane's booster was 32.9 meters long and would have been powered by a single F-1 and two H-1 kerosene/LOX engines plus turbojets for return to base. The winged second stage was mounted on top of the booster and would have used three liquid oxygen/hydrogen J-2 engines. This fully reusable system would have had a gross liftoff weight of 548,847 kg.

Crew Size: 12.

Gross mass: 11,340 kg (25,000 lb).

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Associated Countries
See also
  • 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 Launch Vehicles
  • NAA RTTOCV NASA awarded a "Reusable Ten Ton Orbital Carrier Vehicle" contract worth $342,000 to North American Aviation. The final concept from 1963 was quite similar to Lockheed's System III design. The launch capability was 11,340 kg (25,000 lb) and the standard payload would have consisted of a small lenticular 12-man orbital transfer vehicle spaceplane for space station logistics and crew transfer. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • North American American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. North American, Palmdale, El Segundo. Downey, CA, USA More...

  • Jenkins, Dennis R,, Space Shuttle: The History of the National Space Transportation System : The First 100 Missions, Third edition, Voyageur Press, 2001.

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