SYNOPSIS: The United States Aerospace industry has taken a major step towards international co-operation in manned space flight.
SYNOPSIS: The United States Aerospace industry has taken a major step towards international co-operation in manned space flight. North American Rockwell's Space Division has selected two major European industrial firms, Messerschmitt-Boelkow-Blohm, of West Germany, and England's British Aircraft Corporation, to assist in a design study of the upcoming Space Shuttle transportation system. The European firms will each send a team of engineers, under financing by their respective Governments, to North American Rockwell's Downey, California, facility, two participate in the study.
The study, being performed under contract to the NASA-manned spacecraft centre, will result in a preliminary design for a two-stage fully re-usable Space Vehicle which could be operational in the late 1970's. On a typical mission, the Booster . . .
stage will lift itself and the mate Orbiter, carrying up to 25 thousand pounds of payload . . including twelve passengers . . . out of the earth's atmosphere and into space.
Once in space, the Booster separates and returns to a safe landing near the launch site, while rocket engines send the Orbiter into a parking orbit.
The Crew then prepares to rendezvous while the passengers relax in the cabin.
Rendezvous, in this case with a Space Station of the future, takes place three hours after lift-off. A Transfer Module permits the exchange of passengers and cargo.
Transfer completed, the Orbiter separates using small manoeuvring rockets to move away.
Later, the main rockets slow the Vehicle for de-orbit.
During entry, air friction will cause skin temperatures to reach over two thousand degrees.
Once in the atmosphere, air breathing jet engines will be used to fly the vehicle to the landing field. A conventional approach and landing will be made on a runway.
After landing roll-out, a tractor will pull the Orbiter to the Terminal for off-loading. Two weeks later, it will be ready to fly all over again.
Messerschmidt will devote its efforts in the small rocket engine manoeuvring system while the British Aircraft Corporation will work on structures, aerodynamics, flight test instrumentation and data handling.
With co-operation between nations now a reality in the design of this Space Shuttle, a time of true internationalism in the peaceful, productive exploitation of space appears to be at hand . . . and for the benefit of all mankind.