Propulsion and staging considerations for an orbital sortie vehicle

Robert F. Stengel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Severe weight penalties can occur if the sizes of Orbital Sortie Vehicle stages are not near their optimum values. In particular, single-stage rocket configurations with or without "zero-stage" boosters are necessarily much larger than two-stage configurations. Conventional cryogenic propellant combinations provide a reasonable range of vehicle sizes. By comparison, one storable-liquid propellant combination would require vehicle size to be excessive, while two "exotic" propellant combinations do not appear to provide enough size reduction to warrant their use. Second-stage structural efficiency has a major effect on overall vehicle size. It appears feasible to design a two-stage Orbital Sortie Vehicle whose gross lift-off weight is 50-70 times the payload weight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-34
Number of pages6
JournalActa Astronautica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


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