Selection of Favorite Reusable Launch Vehicle Concepts by using the Method of Pairwise Comparison

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Abstract

The contribution of this paper to the space transportation system field is to select promising Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) concepts by using a formal evaluation procedure. The vehicle system is divided into design features. Every design feature can have alternative characteristics. All combinations of design features and characteristics are compared pairwise with each other. The innovation and novelty of this evaluation procedure is to assess these characteristics with respect to relative importance for a feasible vehicle concept as seen from technical, economic and political aspects. This valuation process leads to a ranked list of design features for suborbital and orbital applications. The result is a theoretical optimized suborbital and orbital vehicle each. The method of pairwise comparison allows to determine not only ranking but also assessing the relative weight of each feature compared to others.

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