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PROBLEMS: Launching into space is too expensive because rocket boosters are still used for the 1st stage (boost stage) of launch, in which the rocket engines must burn extra tremendous amounts of propellants to overcome gravity and air drag inside the atmosphere. In a 2018 interview with CNBC, CEO of SpaceX said “the boost stage is close to 60% of the cost” launching Falcon 9 Block 5.

Also, 1st-stage rocket boosters produce large amounts of exhaust gases which pollute the air.

SOLUTION: To address the stated problems, I propose a new concept of launch vehicle named Atmospheric Launch Vehicle (Atmos-LV) to replace 1st-stage rocket boosters in the world.

Atmos-LV is a reusable launch vehicle consisting of a stack of electric drones (Figure 1) to carry a rocket-launch vehicle (the load), in ranges of different weights and sizes, to near top of the atmosphere. Atmos-LV then separates and lands on ground while the load continues its trajectory.

  1. These drones are battery-powered and remotely controlled.
  2. They have vertical wings for fight stability, an empty space at the center for the load.
  3. They can stack on top of one another to combine lift forces, using sensors and mechanisms at their feet. The number of drones is determined by a lift factor of at least 2 to reach the highest possible speed at separation altitude where air density is sufficient for propellers to bring them back.
  4. After stacking, the bottom drone can take over the control so they can be controlled synchronously. When controlled by a single controller, they become one drone named Stack Drone.

How it works:

Step 1: Stack Drone’s batteries are fully charged, then rocket-launch vehicle docks on pallet & gets fueled.
Step 2: Launch tower is put down, Stack Drone flies over rocket-launch vehicle to dock on pallet.
Step 3: Liftoff procedure.
Step 4: Atmos-LV separates from load, returns to ground and lands. (At separation altitude, rocket-launch vehicle ignites and detaches from pallet. Atmos-LV immediately starts changing velocity from positive to negative at a deceleration that guarantees air density is operable at V = 0 km/s.)

Atmos-LV’s mission path should be linear, during which its vertical wings guarantee total lateral force always be zero with very small tolerance, therefore the only attachment between the pallet and the rocket-launch vehicle should suffice. To minimize weight and avoid separation issues, there should be no extra support.

MANUFACTURED & COST: Required to have high strength-to-weight ratio, these drones are made of aluminum frames, wrapped by sheets of either aluminum or fiberglass. Attachment mechanisms are made of stainless steel. eVTOL motors with power up to 860 kW are available in the market. Rechargeable batteries are packed inside thin walls of aerodynamic bodies. Manufacturing should be simple and cost effective.

WHY NOVEL: Consuming only Solar energy which is converted to electric energy, Atmos-LV tremendously minimizes the cost, saving millions of dollars each launch.

Atmos-LV also keeps the air clean by not using any chemical.


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  • Name:
    Quang Nguyen
  • Type of entry:
  • Patent status: