Alchemist - An Enabling Technology for Low Cost Access to Space

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: N/A
Agency Tracking Number: NASA1344
Amount: $65,287.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2001
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
525 S. Douglas , Suite 210, El Segundo, CA, 90245
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Steven White
 Lead Designer
 (206) 342-9934
Business Contact
 Jason Andrews
Title: President
Phone: (310) 725-9640
Research Institution
The Alchemist system we are proposing is a combined-cycle system which reduces Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) liftoff weights by a factor of four relative to all-rocket systems. This reduces the weight of major elements (e.g. Jet engines, wing, and landing gear)by 60%, and allows us the margin to use the same principles and advantages commercial airplanes use to achieve very safe operations and low operating costs. Using Alchemist, a completely reusable RLV, weighing less than a 777 at takeoff, can operate out of existing commercial airport facilities and deliver the same usable payload to the International Space Station as the Space Shuttle . Turbofan engines are an integral partof the Alchemist system, providing not only takeoff, climb, and cruise propulsion, but all-envelope intact-abort capability, plus ferry capability. With the turbofans on board we have single-fault tolerance against catastrophic failure on all flight critical systems including main propulsion. Single-fault tolerance on all systems provides the operational breakthrough necessary to transition from artillery-like to airplane-like launch systems. Our calculations show that an RLV designed to take full advantage of Alchemist has less than a 1/10,000 chance of loss-of-vehicle and operating costs of $500/kilogram to LEO.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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