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|Origin:||Proc. IAF Congress|
The single-stage reusable Earth-to-Orbit Vehicle was originally targeted by Eugen Saenger already in 1938, but according to the present and foreseeable future,winged vehicles with horizontal landing will always require two stages of different design. This concept is at present under prime consideration by NASA as a US Space Shuttle.
The only technical solution for a single-stage vehicle is the ballistic approach, which would combine techniques and technology of todays launch vehicles, of the Apollo Capsule and of the Lunar Lander Vehicle. This means less development risk and less development effort, beside the fact of concentrating development on only one vehicle instead of two and avoiding all problems of vehicle interfaces, staging, etc.
Progress of structure and propulsion technology during the last years would allow the realization of a single-stage vehicle with no greater performance risk than the two-stage winged space shuttle.
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