NASA SBIR 00-1 SOLICITATION

FORM 9B - PROJECT SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER 00-1 03.02-8657 (Chron: 001344 )
PROJECT TITLE
Alchemist - An Enabling Technology for Low Cost Access to Space



TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
The Alchemist system we are proposing is a combined-cycle system which reduces Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) liftoff weights by a factor of four relative to all-rocket systems. This reduces the weight of major elements (e.g. Jet engines, wing, and landing gear)by 60%, and allows us the margin to use the same principles and advantages commercial airplanes use to achieve very safe operations and low operating costs. Using Alchemist, a completely reusable RLV, weighing less than a 777 at takeoff, can operate out of existing commercial airport facilities and deliver the same usable payload to the International Space Station as the Space Shuttle . Turbofan engines are an integral partof the Alchemist system, providing not only takeoff, climb, and cruise propulsion, but all-envelope intact-abort capability, plus ferry capability. With the turbofans on board we have single-fault tolerance against catastrophic failure on all flight critical systems including main propulsion. Single-fault tolerance on all systems provides the operational breakthrough necessary to transition from artillery-like to airplane-like launch systems. Our calculations show that an RLV designed to take full advantage of Alchemist has less than a 1/10,000 chance of loss-of-vehicle and operating costs of $500/kilogram to LEO.



POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
Exploration and commercialization of space requires safe, reliable, low-cost access to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). We are fifty years into the space age and the cost to put a kilogram in orbit, in current year dollars, hasn't decreased since Apollo in the early sixties. Compare that to airplane transportation where the cost to fly a kilogram from New York to Tokyo has decreased by a factor of four in current year dollars over the same time period. The Alchemist system we are proposing is a combined-cycle system which allows Reusable Launch Vehicles (RLVs) to use the same principles and advantages commercial airplanes use to achieve very safe operations and low operating costs. Using Alchemist, a properly designed RLV can: operate out of existing airport facilities, maintain fault-tolerance on all critical systems including main propulsion, carry full airplane-like design and safety margins, and still be small and light enough to be affordable from a development cost standpoint. Alchemist provides the margin to allow the RLV designer to design for safety, reliability, and low maintenance instead of performance. Our calculations show that an RLV with Alchemist has less than a 1/10,000 chance of loss-of-vehicle and operating costs of $500/kilogram to LEO.



NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Steven White
Andrews Space & Technology
525 S. douglas, Suite 210
El Segundo , CA   90245 - 4827



NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Andrews Space & Technology
525 S. Douglas , Suite 210
El Segundo , CA   90245 - 4827