For the basic studies of “Fully Reusable Space Transportation System”, we still have many things to do, both in higher performance oriented studies – such as super light weight materials and structures and engines, and “Reusable System Architecture” – making an aircraft sort of repeated flight operation possible. There is a long way ahead before flight readiness, therefore the present study is just a starting point for our future.

The primary objectives of the RVT campaign are :

  1. design and operational lessons in repeated flight of a hydrogen fueled rocket and its turnaround, and
  2. vertical landing flight of a rocket-propelled vehicle.

New flight test articles and technologies for the development of the vehicle are being demonstrated in the repeated flight environment. The present flight test (RVT#3) is planned in the end of October. We plan to exercise more in :

  1. design and verification of propulsion systems for repeated flight and turnaround,
  2. automatic vertical landing by engine throttling, and
  3. composite cryogenic tank for lightweight materials.

The test vehicle is propelled by a LOX/LH2 small rocket engine. The dry weight is about 500 kg, and vehicle height is about 3.5 m. The test vehicle is able to take off and land vertically, and fly for about 20 sec with 70 kg of fuel. For the next study’s target, an exo-atmospheric ballistic flight vehicle based on the present concept has been proposed as an extension of current test vehicle studies.