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Fwd = Boeing studying air-launched launch vehicle family

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  • Frits Westra
    Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl URL: http://defence-data.com/current/page6626.htm Original Date: Sat, 4 Mar 2000 00:39:03 +0100
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 4, 2000
      Forwarded by: fwestra@...
      URL: http://defence-data.com/current/page6626.htm
      Original Date: Sat, 4 Mar 2000 00:39:03 +0100

      ========================== Forwarded message begins ======================

      Boeing studying air-launched addition to launch vehicle family

      3 March 2000

      [INLINE] Boeing and Thiokol Propulsion are looking at ways of
      making it easier to get military payloads into space, which could
      be adapted to civil and commercial use.

      The US Air Force has identified a need for a Space Manoeuvre
      Vehicle (SMV), a small, unpiloted reusable spacecraft that can
      lift approximately 7,500 lb. (3,000 kg.) to low Earth orbit (LEO).
      SMV is designed to support a variety of military space missions
      ranging from satellite deployment to terrestrial and on-orbit

      The Boeing Thiokol solution is the AirLaunch system, which
      consists of two basic configurations. The first would support the
      military and would be capable of placing an SMV into LEO. The
      second configuration would be available for civil, commercial and
      military applications using a Conventional Payload Module.
      A modified Boeing 747-400F would carry the AirLaunch vehicle to a
      predetermined launch altitude. During the launch sequence the
      vehicle's wing and tail assembly would provide the necessary lift
      and lateral stability until 747/launch vehicle separation was
      achieved. After ignition, the launch vehicle wing and tail
      assembly would be jettisoned.
      Thiokol Propulsion would provide the AirLaunch solid rocket motors
      in a multi-stage configuration. Currently, Thiokol has existing
      solid rocket motors suitable for the first two stages and is
      working on a design that is well matched for the AirLaunch third
      While the AirLaunch system is being developed primarily as a
      near-term, low-cost, launch-on-demand system for the military,
      "its additional capabilities would advance the Boeing's overall
      launch vehicle strategy," said Rick Stephens, vice president and
      general manager of Boeing Reusable Space Systems. "AirLaunch could
      be used to support the deployment and replenishment of LEO
      communications satellites, hypersonic research, remote sensing and
      technology development."
      "The AirLaunch system will revolutionise space transportation for
      both national and commercial needs by combining new low-risk
      technologies together with demonstrated legacy systems," said
      Robert Crippen, Thiokol Propulsion president.

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