Slide 19 of 125
Lockheed's ”Starclipper” was proposed by the company's senior designer, Max Hunter, in 1966
and the concept was made famous two years later by NASA's George Mueller, Associate
Administrator for Manned Space Flight, who presented the design at a British Internplanetary
Society meeting in August 1968. The Starclipper employed a different lifting-body shape than the McDonnell-Douglas ILRV and it carried a single integrated A-shaped propellant tank rather than four units like the ILRV. In most other respects, the ILRV and Starclipper were very similar. Mueller described the vehicle as a ”space shuttle” primarily intended for space station crew transfer & resupply missions. Mueller and Hunter both stressed the importance of airplane like low-cost operations and manufacturing techniques. Thus, the Starclipper was designed to take-off and land from air bases or major airports, although it did require a custom-built launch pad as well as clear areas downrange since the spent propellant tanks would be hazardous to people and property. A combination of standardized refurbishment processes & ground support equipment, self-contained on-board checkout systems would have reduced the cost of launching a 11,340-22,680kg payload to as little as $50-55 per kilogram [1999 rates] with turnaround times between flights of only 24 hours.
The smaller version of Starclipper was sized for modular 11,340-kilogram space station payloads. Mueller described it as being ideal for satellite retrieval, repair and inspection of satellites as well. Apart from the computerized onboard checkout system, the biggest technical challenges appeared to be the main engines and thermal protection system. The high-pressure engines accounted for 25% of the Starclipper's landing weight and featured two-position nozzles for added efficiency. The Starclipper's passively cooled re-radiative-insulative structure was designed for 10-100 reuses and easy maintenance and replacement.
Liftoff Thrust:. Total Mass: 326,314kg. Total Length: 38.2m.
Payload capability: 11,340kg to a 550km 55 deg. low Earth orbit.
Stage Number 0: Drop tanks. Gross Mass: 280,500kg. Empty Mass: 12,973kg. Length:35.5m. Width: 14.4m. Propellants: LOX/ LH2.
Stage Number 1:. 3 x high-pressure LOX/LH2. Gross Mass minus payload: 40,823kg. Empty Mass: 18,144kg. Thrust: 4,657.25KN (vac.). Isp. Length: 25m. Span:15.85m. Propellants: LOX/ LH2.
The Starclipper eventually evolved into a much bigger 1587.5t GLOW vehicle for launching 22,680kg payloads. The total thrust was increased from 4,657KN to 22,828.5KN by installing five large engines. Lockheed used this configuration as the starting point for its Space Shuttle studies in 1968-71.
“Manned Space Flight: The Future” -- Mueller, SPACEFLIGHT 1968/p.406
“New Future for Manned Spacecraft Developments” -- Mueller, Astronautics & Aeronautics 1969/March/p.24