MAI Proposed to Create an Interorbital Transporter on Solar Energy
Engineers of Moscow Aviation Institute have proposed to create a booster that works on solar energy. It can deliver an excess of a half-ton payload from a low near-earth orbit to a geostationary Earth orbit more than all the existing ones.
The geostationary Earth orbit is located at an altitude of about 36 thousand kilometres. Satellites in this orbit constantly “hang” above one point on Earth. Researchers of MAI will present their proposals on the new accelerating block at the Korolev Readings on Cosmonautics, which will be held from January 29, 2019, in Moscow.
Scientists are concerned about the clogging of space debris in earth orbit. “The energy and ballistic capabilities of the upper stage with a solar thermal rocket engine are shown, including a two-step system “concentrator - light detector - thermal energy storage,” - stated in the report.
“Compared with other means of interorbital transportation, the gain in payload mass exceeds 500 kilograms with the same interorbital transportation time to geostationary Earth orbit up to 60 days,” - the authors wrote. The heat sink of such a booster unit consists of two stages: high temperature and low temperature. The first is proposed to be made from refractory beryllium oxide or an alloy of boron and silicon, the second will contain lithium hydride.
“The payload mass during the interorbital flight from a low reference orbit to a geostationary earth orbit is about 2,200 kilograms. It is almost 2.2 times greater than the capabilities of the Fregat (an upper stage developed by NPO Lavochkin in the 1990s, which is used in some Soyuz and Zenit rockets. Its liquid propellant engine uses UDMH and N2O) type accelerating block,” - MAI engineers wrote.