This documentation is based on the original spaceport plans for a Generation two Maglaunch system.
The large scale of the Maglaunch concept demands a location that is relatively flat, seismically stable and without geographic hurdles, such as mountains and deep canyons.While these geographic hurdles could be overcome by constructing tunnels and bridges, there would be cost implications. The launch tube would be oriented west to east to take advantage of the earth's rotation in accelerating a launch vehicle to orbital velocity. The levitated portion of the launch tube is subject to wind forces.
Locations with high wind, lightning and tropical storm activity would be avoided. The Kennedy Space Center, while it is the preeminent U.S. launch facility, is not large enough to contain the 969-mile-long Maglaunch launch system.
The Maglaunch concept poses a risk to air traffic from the point the launch tube begins to climb from the earth's surface to a point 136 miles down range where the launch tube ends.The launch tube and its restraining tethers form a spider- like web 72,000- feet high and 136-miles long. For this reason, the Maglaunch levitated launch tube would not likely be located anywhere near existing air traffic routes or major airports.
The Spaceport, located at the start of the Maglaunch acceleration tube, is more than 800 miles away and air operations there are not impacted by the Maglaunch levitated launch tube and restraining tether system.
The magnetic levitation and acceleration systems used by Maglaunch require very large amounts of electrical energy. The acceleration driver alone requires 20GW of power be delivered within a few minutes to accelerate the launch vehicle to orbital speeds. The energy most certainly would be generated and stored on or very near the Spaceport. Distributed Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage (DSMES) is one promising concept to store electrical energy. DSMES has virtually instantaneous response and nearly loss-free storage of energy,with low environmental impact. If the energy storage system is distributed along the launch tube, energy losses associated with a long distribution bus are minimized. Pump stations and refrigeration stations will be located at intervals along the 969-mile Maglaunch launch system.The pump stations are necessary to lower the air pressure in the launch tube and the refrigeration units are required to keep the superconducting materials at the proper temperature.
The power to operate these facilities will have to be distributed to the sites from sources along the length of the 969-mile Maglaunch system. While some of the Maglaunch requirements suggest a remote location, a nearby community for basic services for facility staff and visitors is essential. Residential, commercial, recreation, education and health care are some of the services required. A thriving community with all necessary services is required to attract and retain top talent for the Spaceport. The community may also share water, sewer and other utility services with the Spaceport.
The Spaceport will require connections to the surrounding transportation infrastructure. Road, rail and air services will be needed to efficiently transport the launch vehicle components,payloads, spaceport employees and visitors, launch vehicle crew and passengers to the spaceport. While the above-listed Maglaunch requirements have been identified, determining actual site alternatives satisfying these requirements was not a part of this study.
GROUND FLOW ANALYSIS
A ground flow analysis was conducted and a ground flow diagram developed to identify and graphically represent the relationships between operations required to prepare, launch, recover and service Maglaunch Reusable Launch Vehicles (RLV). Maglaunch is capable of launching both RLVs and non-reusable cargo-only vehicles called Hybrid Logistics Modules (HLM). The ground flow diagram was prepared based upon the following assumptions about the RLV and required supporting services.
The RLV could be configured as a crewed cargo vehicle and a crewed passenger vehicle. Therefore, facilities for crew, passengers and cargo will be included. While on the ground, the RLV will be towed on its landing gear from recovery to service facilities and until it is loaded into the launch tube via an airlock. Please refer to Exhibit II, to review the Maglaunch Ground Flow Diagram.
Using color-coding, the diagram depicts major events from the time the RLV lands and arrives at the recovery facility until it is launched on its next mission.
Events are divided into two categories: in-line operations (green-colored events), which define the critical path activities required for each flight to maintain the shortest possible turnaround time between flights, and off-line operations (all other colors), which are activities performed in support of on-line activities, but are not flight-specific and may be accomplished over a longer period of time without directly affecting critical path flight schedules.
In-line operations begin with the flight vehicle arriving at the landing facility and taxiing to the landing recovery area where post-flight safety procedures occur and passengers and crew disembark. Next the vehicle moves to the payload-removal bay for removal of the payload. The vehicle then moves to the vehicle processing and maintenance bay where on-board systems are checked through the Integrated Vehicle Health Monitoring system and routine maintenance operations are performed.
The vehicle then moves to the payload-integration bay where the flight-ready payload containers are inserted and tested.The vehicle moves from payload integration to the pre-launch area for fueling, loading of flight services supplies and the boarding of passengers and crew (when applicable). At this point the vehicle moves to launch position through an airlock at the end of the acceleration tube. Final prelaunch checks are completed and launch is initiated.
At this time it is not known whether the Maglaunch RLV will operate as a horizontal or vertical landing vehicle or if vehicles of both types will operate concurrently. The spaceport can be designed to accommodate both horizontal and vertical landing vehicles.Vertical landing RLVs would require vertical landing pads and ground service equipment to off-load passengers and crew and "safe" the vehicle while in the vertical configuration on the landing pad. A moving-gantry-type ground service vehicle would roll up to the vehicle on the landing pad and engage a passenger bridge device for the crew and passengers to disembark. Next the ground service gantry would transition the RLV to a horizontal configuration and set it on a transport vehicle
The mobile gantry would then move to a designated location away from the landing pads for storage and maintenance until the next vertical landing operation. The RLV will stay on the transporter until it is ready to be launched again.
The following off-line operations include services required in support of in-line operations:
Passenger and crew facilities, (color-coded blue), include facilities necessary to transfer passengers and crew to and from the flight vehicle and all supporting services. These services include: parking, check-in, security, food service and lodging, medical services, pre-flight training and flight preparation, post-flight check-out, and passenger/crew holding areas and transfer systems.
Payload processing facilities, (color-coded red), encompass all areas required to receive, handle, load, unload and ship payloads to be delivered to (up payloads) and returned from (down payloads) space. It is assumed that payload delivery to space will be accomplished on an in-time basis, meaning payload development and testing will be accomplished at facilities away from the spaceport launch complex, and only final integration into standard payload containers and check-out will be accomplished on-site.
A central receiving and shipping facility will handle all payloads arriving for launch or returning from space. From receiving ing, up payloads may be staged in a storage area or moved directly to the payload container assembly and test area where payloads are integrated into standard payload containers and tested prior to insertion into the launch vehicle. The tested payload container is inserted in the vehicle in the payload integration and test bay. Upon return from space, containers are removed from the flight vehicle in the payload-removal bay and transferred to the isolation and decontamination area. Then the containers move to the payload deintegration area where payloads are removed from containers and prepared for shipping off-site via the shipping facility.
Service and maintenance facilities are color-coded gray and include flight vehicle and launch-assist system maintenance facilities, flight operations and facility-support services.Vehicle maintenance facilities will provide all required maintenance that cannot be accomplished in-line due to time constraints and will support such procedures as scheduled overhaul and engine repair/replacement.The vehicle maintenance area will receive, inventory and supply parts to service and maintenance areas via the Integrated Vehicle Health Monitoring (IVHM) system, as well as receive and checkout new flight vehicles prior to placement in-line.
Flight-support services facilities provide consumables for passenger/crewed flights, which would be delivered to the flight vehicle at pre-launch and removed at landing/recovery. Flight support services facilities could be located either on-site or remote from the launch complex. Flight operations comprise all functions required to control the spaceport facility, such as facility management, flight control and planning, communications, security, and emergency services. Facility-support services encompass all buildings, services and infrastructure necessary to maintain the Spaceport.
Power and fuel facilities are color-coded yellow.The power generation and fuel production facilities are located at the Spaceport complex. Power generation facilities will supply fuel to the pre-launch area via underground piping.The power generation and storage complex will supply power to the launch-assist system, as well as the spaceport facilities.
The conceptual spaceport plan for Maglaunch is based upon the assumption that the complex will be located in a very large expanse of relatively flat terrain with a westto- east orientation of the launch system. Maglaunch site alternatives were not evaluated as part of this study. As a result, the analysis and descriptions of the spaceport facilities in this report are not site specific.
There are three major building facilities areas that compose the Maglaunch launch complex: the flight vehicle service facility, the launch facility and the terminal facility. Fuel loads on Maglaunch launch vehicles are much smaller than the MagLifter concept allowing placement of terminal, launch and service facilities in closer proximity than the MagLifter Spaceport concept. Additional facilities located on-site include the flight control tower and launch control facilities, the power generation/fuel production complex and the launch support and technical development complex
Flight Vehicle Service Facility
The flight vehicle service facility is the center of operations for post-flight vehicle service and pre-flight vehicle preparation.The facility is envisioned to function much like a manufacturing facility assembly line wherein the flight vehicle progresses from service bay to bay as "in-line" operations are performed to accomplish the fastest possible turnaround time from vehicle recovery to next launch. In-line bays include passenger/crew recovery and vehicle safing, payload removal, routine vehicle processing and service, payload container integration, pre-launch and launch. Each in-line bay is supported by "off-line" facilities that perform operations related to the in-line bay, but require more time to accomplish or are not on the same schedule.
For example, launching one vehicle per day would require integrating one payload container each day. However, it may take several days to prepare a payload container for launch. For the in-line container integration bay to meet the one-per-day schedule, it is necessary to have an off-line facility that can prepare multiple payload containers so that there will be one ready for integration each day. Following is a brief description of each in-line bay and the related supporting off-line facilities.
Recovery and vehicle safing: The recovery bay is most likely an exterior space to which the flight vehicle will taxi or be towed upon landing. The area will function much as a gate position at an airport, with a loading bridge to off-load passengers (if any) and crew and a ground crew that will check and inspect the vehicle prior to the vehicle entering the service facility.After being cleared to enter the service facility, the vehicle is towed to the payload removal bay.
Payload removal: Payloads in modular containers will be removed from the vehicle with overhead handling devices and any payload-specific vehicle-to-container connections will also be removed. The payload container will be moved to an adjacent area where it will be examined and may be isolated and/or decontaminated if necessary. After the container is cleared by the removal facility, it is transferred to the de-integration facility. Upon completion of payload container removal, the vehicle is towed to the service bay.
Processing and service: Routine maintenance and systems checks are performed in the processing and service bay where turnaround can be accomplished in a few hours. For extensive procedures requiring more time than that allowed for in-line schedules,vehicles are towed off-line to an adjacent maintenance area with bays dedicated to heavy maintenance, overhaul, and component replacement. There is also a bay for receiving and check out of new flight vehicles prior to being placed in service. A parts receiving, storage and distribution area is adjacent to both service and maintenance.
The service, maintenance and parts areas are interconnected to an Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM) system.As envisioned, the automated system is integral to the flight vehicle and connected to a service facility network that can detect and report vehicle service and maintenance issues and schedule needed repairs and procedures.The system will also requisition the needed parts for delivery to the appropriate service location,maintain an inventory of parts and supplies, and re-order inventory as necessary.
Container Integration: Upon completion of servicing, the flight vehicle is towed to the payload container integration bay. It is envisioned that all payloads will be delivered to space in modular containers. The integration bay is where loaded containers are placed in the flight vehicle, support connections made and systems checked on a quick-turn basis. An extensive off-line payload facility is envisioned for handling up and down payloads. Up payloads shipped to the site via truck, rail or air will be received in ready-to-launch configurations, with payload development and testing accomplished off-site prior to delivery.After check-in, up payloads will be moved to a holding area or immediately to the payload/container integration lab, depending upon launch schedule. The lab is sized to handle integration and testing of multiple payload/container assemblies at one time to meet in-line launch schedules. Down payloads are moved to a de-integration lab from the removal bay to be separated from the container, prepared for shipping and moved to the shipping and receiving area for shipping via truck, rail or air. After payload integration, the flight vehicle is transported to the launch facility.
HLM Assembly and Integration: The HLM is a disposable cargo-carrying module capable of alternative configurations for delivery of varying types of cargo to space.A separate receiving and integration facility is envisioned to receive, store, handle, assemble and integrate HLM components and payloads.The HLM consists of a cylindrical payload carrying module, two tapered fairings (one applied to each end of the module to make it aerodynamic for launch), and a propulsion pack that is attached to the trailing end of the payload module which fires after the launched module clears the end of the launch tube to assist in the final climb to orbit. All HLM components will be shipped to the service facility by air, rail or truck, and received and stored in the facility, like components in a manufacturing process. As flights are scheduled, HLM's are assembled as they move on the assembly line toward the launch facility. Payloads may be integrated into the HLM module either off-site and shipped to site ready for final vehicle assembly, test and launch, or be shipped to the site and integrated into the module in a process similar to that described for up-payload container loading and integration herein. Once fully assembled with integrated payload, the HLM is transported to the launch facility.
The launch facility includes pre-launch and launch operations. Pre-launch operations include vehicle fueling, on-loading food and other perishable items, and boarding passengers and crew.On-board food and related materials are prepared at a support services facility adjacent to the complex and are delivered to the pre-launch facility. Passengers and crew arrive just prior to launch from the terminal facility. The launch operations include control and monitoring facilities related to the Maglaunch launch system beginning with the airlock.
The entrance to the Maglaunch system is through a large airlock where the flight ready launch vehicle is placed and the inside pressure is lowered to match that of the evacuated launch tube. Next the vehicle moves from the airlock into the acceleration tube to await launch.
Terminal facilities include accommodations for passengers and flight crew similar to those found in a small commercial airport, including parking and arrival lobbies with check-in stations, security screening, holdroom areas,and overnight accommodations with food service and entertainment. Facilities will also include areas to train and prepare passengers and crew for space flight, as well as medical facilities for evaluation and flight readiness assessment and emergency treatment. Also located in the terminal are administrative offices for launch planning and operations.
Power Generation and Fuel Production & Storage Facility
Because the Maglaunch magnetic levitation and acceleration systems have power requirements far exceeding capacities available from a typical power grid, a power generation facility is located at the spaceport near the Maglaunch acceleration tube. Power is delivered throughout the spaceport through an underground power distribution system.
Launch Support and Technical Development Complex
The launch support and technical development complex is for facilities that support launch operations, launch vehicles and payloads, but do not need to be located at the launch complex. Facilities located in this area would include research and payload development for launch to space. Facilities in this area might also assemble and test payloads prior to transfer to the integration lab at the launch complex and conduct experimental development and testing of flight vehicles and support systems.