Encyclopedia Astronautica
Boeing SDV

Shuttle SDV 1977
Credit: © Mark Wade
American orbital launch vehicle. The Boeing SDV Class I vehicle would lead to the Shuttle-C, using the shuttle aft fuselage with SSME engines to power a cargo canister into orbit.

Boeing was awarded NASA contract NAS8-32398 on 28 July 1977 to study unmanned cargo derivatives of the shuttle. The Class I vehicle would be similar to the Shuttle-C, using the shuttle aft fuselage with SSME engines to power a cargo canister into orbit. The engine pod would be recovered, and the payload shroud would be 7 m in diameter and 29 m long (allowing payloads up to 20.9 m long. A stretched shroud would be 38 mlong and accommodate 30 m payloads. Both integral and separable engine pod variations were explored, resulting in payloads between 59,000 kg and 91,000 kg. A three-SSME version could but 91,000 kg into orbit and would have a gross liftoff mass of 922,000 kg. A four SSME version could put 102,000 kg into orbit with a gross liftoff mass of 975,000 kg. The propulsion module was to be designed for 300 flights. Development cost was estimated at $930 million, and first article cost for the engine pod $135 million. Cost of expendable items per flight was estimated at $4.23 million, with total cost per flight $14.136 million, or $1118 per kg to orbit, as opposed to the $1323/kg expected for the basic shuttle at that time.

Class II designs used a payload fairing 8.31 m in diameter, with a single liquid rocket booster, and 4 SSME engines uprated to 308,000 kgf and using a 2.9:1 oxidiser/fuel ratio. These would be rated for 50 flights between overhaul. The booster would have a gross liftoff mass of 1,130,000 kg, and be capable of placing 91,000 to 135,000 kg into orbit. The new booster would cost $2.863 billion to develop, with the first article costing $241 million. Cost per flight was expected to be $13.437 million, $ 4.38 million of that for expendable items, resulting in a cost per pound to orbit of $593.

LEO Payload: 91,000 kg (200,000 lb) to a 300 km orbit at 28.50 degrees.

Status: Study 1977.
Gross mass: 922,000 kg (2,032,000 lb).
Payload: 91,000 kg (200,000 lb).
Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • Shuttle The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years. More...
  • Winged In the beginning, nobody (except Jules Verne) thought anybody would be travelling to space and back in ballistic cannon balls. The only proper way for a space voyager to return to earth was at the controls of a real winged airplane. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Boeing American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Boeing Aerospace, Seattle, USA. More...

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use