Space Shuttle Orbiters are likely to remain in service to 2020 or beyond for servicing the International Space Station and for launching very high value spacecraft. There is a need for a new STS-deployable upper stage that can boost certain Orbiter payloads to higher energy orbits, up to and including Earth-escape trajectories. The inventory of solid rocket motor Inertial Upper Stages has been depleted, and it is unlikely that a LOX/LH2-fueled upper stage can fly on Shuttle due to safety concerns. This paper summarizes the results of a study that investigated a low cost, low risk approach to quickly developing a new large upper stage optimized to fly on the existing Shuttle fleet. Two design reference missions (DRMs) were specified: the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM). Two categories of upper stage propellants were examined in detail: a storable liquid propellant and a storable gel propellant. Stage subsystems 'other than propulsion were based largely on heritage hardware to minimize cost, risk and development schedule span. The paper presents the ground rules and guidelines for conducting the study, the preliminary conceptual designs margins, assessments of technology readiness/risk, potential synergy with other programs, and preliminary estimates of development and production costs and schedule spans. Although the Orbiter Columbia was baselined for the study, discussion is provided to show how the results apply to the remaining STS Orbiter fleet.
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
AIAA Paper 2003-5128
39th AIAA Joint propulsion Conference and Exhibit; 20-23 Jul. 2003; Huntsville, AL; United States