Intercontinental aerospace system

Rocket and space engineering


Mikhalyev S. M.

Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute named after N.E. Zhukovsky, TsAGI, 1, Zhukovsky str., Zhukovsky, Moscow Region, 140180, Russia



The object of this study is the aerospace system that radically reduces the flight time at intercontinental ranges (up to 18000 km.).

The aerospace system is based on a rocket sub-orbit launch. The three-stage orbital launching system consists of a subsonic carrier (like a foreign analog SpaceShipTwo [1]), hypersonic plane-booster with liquid-propellant engine [2] and a shuttle with liquid-propellant engine. The launching mass of space-rocket system is 120 tons.

The aim of this work is to design a new generation of aerospace system configuration (Fig. 1) and to estimate the impact of different fuels on the main technical characteristics of space-rocket system (payload mass, overall dimensions of stages, fuel tanks volume etc.).

The research methodology is based on the synthesis and analysis of the design-theoretical, scientific and technical background of TsAGI [3] in this area including reusable aerospace systems as well as additional design studies using sets of computer programs developed in TsAGI.

Fig. 1 Aerospace system in 2D and 3D.

The configuration design of the future twin-fuselage carrier and three versions of aerospace system with different fuels in the first stage were accomplished in this work. Aerodynamic and flight characteristics of space-rocket and aerospace system as an assembly were determined. It was shown that the considered aerospace system concept permit to reduce the time of intercontinental flights to 80 minutes. The best variant in terms of payload mass is to use the oxy-hydrogen fuel in the first stage of space-rocket system.


  1. Chjornyj N. Pervyj pokaz SpaceShipTwo. Novosti kosmonavtiki, 2008, no.3, pp. 17-18.

  2. RD0146D. «Konstruktorskoe Buro Khimavtomatiky», 2014available at:

  3. Buzuluk V.I. Optimizatsiya traektorii dvizheniya aerokosmicheskikh letatel’nykh apparatov (Aerospace aircraft mechanical trajectory optimization), Moscow, TsAGI, 2008, 476 p.

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