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International Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2012, Article ID 830536, 10 pages
Review Article

A Low-Cost Launch Assistance System for Orbital Launch Vehicles

ERATO Maenaka Human-Sensing Fusion Project, 8111, Shosha 2167, Hyogo-ken, Himeji-shi, Japan

Received 17 February 2012; Revised 6 April 2012; Accepted 16 April 2012

Academic Editor: Kenneth M. Sobel

Copyright © 2012 Oleg Nizhnik. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The author reviews the state of art of nonrocket launch assistance systems (LASs) for spaceflight focusing on air launch options. The author proposes an alternative technologically feasible LAS based on a combination of approaches: air launch, high-altitude balloon, and tethered LAS. Proposed LAS can be implemented with the existing off-the-shelf hardware delivering 7 kg to low-earth orbit for the 5200 USD per kg. Proposed design can deliver larger reduction in price and larger orbital payloads with the future advances in the aerostats, ropes, electrical motors, and terrestrial power networks.