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Blue Origin Crew Transportation System Description for NASA CCDev-2

Status Report From: Kennedy Space Center
Posted: Monday, April 18, 2011



Blue Origin is developing a Crew Transportation System, comprised of a Space Vehicle (SV) launched first on an Atlas V launch vehicle and then on Blue Origin's own Reusable Booster System (RES). NASA funding through CCDev 2 and the future Commercial Crew program will accelerate availability of the Blue Origin CTS. The biconic Space Vehicle will be capable of carrying seven astronauts and will transfer NASA crew and cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS), serve as an ISS emergency escape vehicle for up to 210 days, and perform a land landing to minimize the costs of recovery and reuse. It will also conduct separate commercial missions for science research, private adventure, and travel to other LEO destinations.

APPENDIX 1: Executive Summary

[Source: NNK11MS02S Space Act Agreement - Blue Origin 04/18/2011]

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Blue Origin, LLC is a private company developing vehicles and technologies to dramatically lower the cost and increase the reliability of human access to space. Building on its success under the CCDev 1 program, Blue Origin proposes to further accelerate development of a Crew Transportation System (CTS) capable of transporting crew and cargo safely and affordably to low Earth orbit (LEO). Under CCDev 2, Blue Origin proposes that NASA co-fund the following critical development activities:

(1) Space Vehicle design maturation up through System Requirements Review (SRR);
(2) pusher escape ground and flight testing; and
(3) engine component testing.

Crew Transportation System

Blue Origin is developing a Crew Transportation System, comprised of a Space Vehicle (SV) launched first on an Atlas V launch vehicle and then on Blue Origin's own Reusable Booster System (RES). NASA funding through CCDev 2 and the future Commercial Crew program will accelerate availability of the Blue Origin CTS.

The biconic Space Vehicle will be capable of carrying seven astronauts and will transfer NASA crew and cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS), serve as an ISS emergency escape vehicle for up to 210 days, and perform a land landing to minimize the costs of recovery and reuse. It will also conduct separate commercial missions for science research, private adventure, and travel to other LEO destinations.

Blue Origin's Space Vehicle is designed to ride on multiple boosters. The Atlas V was chosen for initial capability because it has a proven launch track record, has the required performance capability, can be adapted for human spaceflight operations, and is operated from facilities close to the Kennedy Space Center.

Blue Origin is simultaneously developing a Reusable Booster System to dramatically lower the cost of space access. In the coming decade, use of expendable booster stages will be a substantial portion of NASA's total cost of space access. Each one-time use of current expendable booster technology represents a prime opportunity for cost reduction. Blue Origin's RBS employs deep-throttling, restartable engines to perform vertical take-off, vertical landing (VTVL) maneuvers for booster recovery and reuse. CCDev 2 funding will shorten the development time of these engines, accelerating the availability of Blue Origin's Reusable Booster System.

Blue Origin requests a total of $22,005,000 in CCDev 2 funding, with the possibility of an additional $5,172,000 for optional milestones, to speed maturation of the orbital Crew Transportation System in the following three projects:

Maturing the Orbital Space Vehicle Design

Under CCDev2, Blue Origin proposes to advance the Space Vehicle design through completion of key system trades; design of the thermal protection system (to be performed in partnership with NASA Ames Research Center); definition of the biconic shape including aerodynamic analyses, CFD analysis, and wind tunnel testing; development of a draft Space Vehicle to Atlas V Interface Definition Document (IDD); and completion of a Mission Concept Review (MCR) and System Requirements Review (SRR) resulting in a baseline definition architecture and system requirements.

Blue Origin requests $2,705,000 in NASA funding for the Space Vehicle Design Maturation Project.

Maturing the Pusher Escape System

The Space Vehicle uses a pusher escape system allowing fall-envelope crew escape capability in the event of an anomaly on the launch vehicle. The pusher escape system is a key enabler of full-vehicle reusability, as well as improving the safety of human access to space. The use of an engine in a pusher configuration is a high technical risk in the Space Vehicle concept, differing substantially from the traditional towed-tractor escape tower concepts utilized on Mercury, Apollo, and Orion. The pusher escape configuration requires active thrust vector control (TVC) to steer the Space Vehicle away from the lower stage during ascent. Building on TVC ground testing completed under CCDev 1, Blue Origin proposes to exercise the comers of the escape flight envelope by conducting a Pad Escape abort test and, optionally, a high dynamic pressure (Max-Q) abort test.

Blue Origin requests $8,900,000 in NASA funding for the Pusher Escape Risk Reduction Project, with the possibility of an additional $2,172,000 for optional milestones.

Accelerating Engine Development

Blue Origin also proposes to speed development of its Reusable Booster System through accelerated testing of its 100,000 lbf liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen (LOx/LH2) engine. Development of Blue Origin's restartable, deep-throttle engine is pacing the entire orbital RBS program. Under CCDev 2, Blue Origin proposes to test the full-scale thrust chamber at NASA's Stennis Space Center and, optionally, perform development testing of the engine's fuel and oxidizer turbopumps.

Blue Origin requests $1 0,400,000 in NASA funding for the RBS Engine Risk Reduction Project with the possibility of an additional $3,000,000 for optional milestones. Partnering with NASA will not only accelerate the Reusable Booster System; it will also speed development of a low-cost LOx/LH2 engine suitable for a variety of other upper stage applications and deep-throttling exploration missions.

Incremental Development of Human Space Flight Capabilities

Blue Origin's incremental development approach uses suborbital tests to understand and characterize our system and retire development risks. The suborbital vehicle will be fully reusable and capable of flying three or more astronauts to an altitude of over 328,000 ft (above 100 km) for science research and adventure. The suborbital booster is currently undergoing integrated testing. The suborbital capsule will separate from the subscale booster prior to reentry, followed by a land landing for recovery and reuse. The suborbital capsule will baseline key technologies for the orbital Space Vehicle, and is currently undergoing final assembly.

Experienced Team With Key Resources Already In Place

Blue Origin has assembled a team of experienced space professionals that successfully completed all milestones co-funded by NASA under the CCDev 1 program. Simultaneously, Blue Origin has continued to pursue development, assembly and testing of its suborbital booster and separating capsule, which will demonstrate critical technologies needed for Blue Origin's orbital CTS.

The Blue Origin CCDev 2 team includes:

- NASA Ames Research Center, for system trades, design, and test activities related to
Space Vehicle design maturation;
- NASA Stennis Space Center, for engine thrust chamber testing; and
- United Launch Alliance (ULA), for integration of the Space Vehicle with the Atlas V
launch vehicle.

In addition, Blue Origin's team includes the following major suppliers:

- Aerojet, for solid rocket motors and test facilities;
- Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control High Speed Wind Tunnel (HSWT), for
high-speed wind tunnel testing of the Space Vehicle; and
- U.S. Air Force Holloman High Speed Test Track (HHSTT), located outside
Alamogordo, New Mexico, for testing the pusher escape system.

Eligible for CCDev Funding

As a limited liability company organized under the laws of Washington State and 100 percent owned by United States nationals, Blue Origin is eligible to participate in the CCDev 2 program.

Private Co-funding Secured

Blue Origin's founder and investor, Jeff Bezos, recognizes that successful development of an innovative space launch capability is a long-term endeavor and is committed to steady funding for development efforts to achieve a commercial orbital vehicle. NASA co-funding under the CCDev 2 program will accelerate Blue Origin's development of the reusable Crew Transportation System.

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