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  • A comparison of future fully reusable winged single-stage and two-stage launch vehicles with different propulsion concepts

    Paper ID



    • D.M. Wolf


    DLR - German Aerospace Research Establishment


    Federal Republic of Germany




    The paper deals with the evaluation of future fully reusable launch vehicles on the basis of mass and cost comparisons. Altogether 16 winged single-stage and two-stage vehicles are compared. Besides pure rocket launchers, vehicles with rocket and separate ramjets are considered. It is found that neither the horizontal take-off single-stage vehicles nor the single-stage ramjet vehicles represent an alternative to the vertical take-off single-stage rocket vehicles. Among thein the dual-fuel launcher yields lowest dry mass and lowest launch cost. Among the two-stage rocket launchers, stage separation at Mach 3 and application of propellant crossfeed principle leads to vehicles with lowest dry masses. Under these conditions the dual-fuel launcher again has lowest dry mass and lowest launch cost. The differences in launch cost between horizontal take-off and vertical take-off two-stage launchers are relatively small. Therefore no clear preference can be given for either one of the take-off modes in this case.