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Economic Possibilities of Long Range Commercial Rocket Transports


Beyer, David Dean (1953) Economic Possibilities of Long Range Commercial Rocket Transports. Engineer's thesis, California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/4YV8-MX65.


In recent publications the economic aspects of both subsonic and supersonic jet transports have been discussed in some detail. Though the high subsonic speed turbojet transport, with some restrictions on range, was found to be of interest economically, no reasonable economic case was found for the supersonic jet transport utilizing either turbojet or ramjet engines. These calculations were made, however, with the assumption of a conventional level flight path. The purpose of this study is to investigate the possibility of using a rocket motor for propulsion of a supersonic transport flying a ballistic trajectory, with the hope that the direct operating expense can be reduced to a value comparable to that of subsonic transports, and thus to indicate the economic feasibility of such high speed transports. It is shown that direct operating costs of rocket motored transports can be less than those indicated for the turbojet and ramjet transports, and in some cases, even approach the cost of operating currently proposed subsonic turbojet engine powered transports. Also the operating ranges can be extended beyond those possible with the supersonic jet transports postulated. The flight technique used is one which allows the high thrust of the rocket motor to produce sufficient kinetic energy in the vehicle to permit it to coast and glide the desired range. Performance is calculated with consideration given to endurance to acceleration limits imposed by human occupants. It is shown that payload optimization decreases design acceleration to a point that the human endurance is not the limiting factor. Weight breakdowns for the major components of the airplane are made, and costs computed are based on Air Transportation Association formulas given for the purpose of comparing operating costs of various proposed aircraft.

Item Type:Thesis (Engineer's thesis)
Subject Keywords:Aeronautical Engineering
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Tsien, Hsue Shen
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:1 January 1953
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-05122003-122930
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1740
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:13 May 2003
Last Modified:17 May 2023 22:27

Thesis Files

PDF (Beyer_dd_1953.pdf) - Final Version
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