An Analysis of the SKYLON Infrastructure

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M. Hempsell (2010), JBIS, 63, 129-135

Refcode: 2010.63.129
Keywords: SKYLON, infrastructure architecture, upper stage, docking adaptors, personnel modules

The SKYLON spaceplane is a reusable launch system that can launch large payloads into low earth orbit, but to capture the majority of the launch market, it needs to be the centre of a wider transportation infrastructure capable of meeting real payload mass and location requirements. The paper outlines the complete operational infrastructure needed to do this and oulines this issues related to their introduction. It concentrates on four key complimentary systems that are required for SKYLON to capture the entire launch market. These are an upper stage to reach higher energy orbits, two systems for supporting in-orbit facilities and a carrier to adapt the payload bay for small payloads. These complimentary systems will need to be available for SKYLON's test flight programme to verify all its required functionality and therefore they will need to be developed in parallel with SKYLON. The total acquisition cost of these complimentary elements is estimated at around $4 billion (2009$) which will be in addition to the $13.5 billion to acquire the basic SKYLON system.

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