SASSTO (Saturn Application Single-Stage-to-Orbit) combined launch vehicle and spacecraft. Only 62.3 ft (19m.) tall, a single plug-nozzle engine would serve both as launch vehicle and for soft-landing back on Earth after an orbital mission. The craft – seen here with a Gemini two-man capsule – would be recovered intact and could be used repeatedly. It would be a particularly appropriate for ferry missions into Earth-orbit including the emergency rescue of astronauts.
- Optional fairing around the two-man Gemini Capsule;
- Gemini adapter section;
- Transition support structure;
- Orbit injection / retro and control propellant tanks (6);
- Toroidal liquid-oxygen tank;
- Annular combustion chamber;
- Truncated plug nozzle and re-entry heat shield;
- Attitude-control system (4);
- Retractable landing legs (4);
- Spherical liquid-hydrogen propellant tank.
Frontiers of Space
Philip Bono & Kenneth Gatland
Image credit: Douglas