Encyclopedia Astronautica
Shuttle LRB 1972



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Shuttle - LRB
Shuttle - LRB boosters side
Credit: © Mark Wade
American winged orbital launch vehicle. Original design for a shuttle with liquid rocket boosters, completed in March 1972 as part of the shuttle design decision process

In November 1971 Shuttle Phase B Double Prime studies were initiated. In yet another iteration of shuttle design studies, $ 2.8 million contracts were given to Grumman/Boeing, Lockheed, McDonnell-Douglas/Martin Marrietta, and North American Rockewell. The development costs for the Phase B Prime contracts had still been over the Nixon administration's budget cap, and still further ways to reduce development cost had to be found. The studies were to run through 15 March 1972 and study lower cost booster concepts, one of which was a fully recoverable stage but with a new pressure-fed engine

The new-design pressure fed liquid propellant booster would be parachute-recovered and reused. Using liquid oxygen/kerosene propellants, each booster would be 9.93 m in diameter, 48.5 m long, and be equipped with two 612,000 kgf engines. Three boosters would be assembled in parallel, with the external tank for the shuttle orbiter atop the core booster. This design would have a gross lift-off mass of 2,626,000 kg. Another design used 4 x 475,000 kgf engines in each stage, resulting in a 2,394,000 kg vehicle. It was estimated the LRB's would cost $4.2 billion to develop, plus $ 8.9 billion to operate, making shuttle cost $275/kg to orbit. The study assumed a series burn, with the shuttle orbiter igniting at altitude.

Status: Study 1972.
Gross mass: 2,626,000 kg (5,789,000 lb).
Thrust: 36,010.00 kN (8,095,370 lbf).

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Associated Countries
See also
  • Shuttle The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years. More...
  • Winged In the beginning, nobody (except Jules Verne) thought anybody would be travelling to space and back in ballistic cannon balls. The only proper way for a space voyager to return to earth was at the controls of a real winged airplane. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...

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