DH-1 - Beyond LEO

Beyond LEO

The upper stage is designed to operate in space, and to be refueled there. Assuming the presence of a space station for storing the propellant, an orbital DH-1 could be refueled after 17 launches. Linking two such refueled stages nose to nose would enable you to take ~35,000 lb to the Lunar surface, the Martian surface, or geosynchronous orbit, and return to the station. Due to fuel requirements, the cost to these locations is 6 times greater than the cost to LEO.

Variants with a stretched cabin and a hinged nose have also been suggested. The former could be outfitted in orbit to carry people in comparative comfort on long duration flights, while the latter could be used to carry bulky cargo that would not fit through the normal cargo hatch. For interplanetary flights, the book suggested using one RL-60 modified to run on methane which was fitted with an engine bell extension, which was removable to allow aerobreaking.

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