Here are a couple of additional images of the small launch vehicle (SLV) concept recently unveiled by Boeing. The company outlined the scheme as a possible means of cutting the cost of launching small sats as well as increasing launch responsiveness.
There wasn’t room in this week’s story to include more detailed graphics of the individual stages – so here they are together with a diagram of a typical mission profile.
(All images Boeing unless stated)
The first-stage measures just over 38 ft in length and has a span of 19 ft. Showing its shared supersonic design heritage with the North American XB-70 (below), the stage incorporates a 2D ramped inlet to an air-turbo rocket. Constructed largely of a weight-optimized titanium waffle-grid structure with Inconel leading edges, the slim delta would include LOX/RP tanks made from a graphite-epoxy composite.
Capable of spanning the speed gap from the first-staging point of Mach 4.5 to the departure stage of the third-stage rocket at Mach 10, the second-stage would be just over 37 ft long and have a 15.3 ft wing span. Overall airframe construction would be of graphite-epoxy, with an integral conformal liquid methane tank to supply the vehicle’s circular combustion scramjet. Thermal protection would be a ceramic matrix composite material.
The third-stage would incorporate an advanced solid or liquid rocket and a thrust-vectoring nozzle. Measuring over 16-ft in overall length, the 2-ft diameter rocket would include a 21 in by 38.3 in long payload bay to accommodate a 100 lb payload.
The complete stack would measure 74.6 ft and have a take-off gross weight of almost 25,000 lb. The proposed mission profile is outlined below.