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The Sky is Not the Limit: Research Opportunities in Suborbital Flights
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering, Flight Dynamics.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This report investigates research opportunities in manned suborbital flights and gives future recommendations for relevant parties to seize such opportunities. The objective is to make a summary of the current state and elaborate on possible future steps to take. The study uses a research- and analysis-based approach, with stakeholder interviews being an important contribution to the analysis, as well as open-source mate-rials such as market analyses and research papers. Emerging suborbital flight vehicle developers are studied, as well as the future demand for suborbital flights. Major space research areas are investigated in terms of current experiments conducted, platforms used for experiments and their drivers and drawbacks, and future goals and dreams.The demand for suborbital flights is expected to grow up to 40% in coming years, out of which space research will account for 24%. Key characteristics of currently used platforms are microgravity time and level, payload capacity, flight and re-flight opportunities, launch flex-ibility and cost. The cost per kg of payload for suborbital flights is a competitive k€0.5-5. Suborbital flights can fill a gap in research in biology, physiology and human research, astrobiology/exobiolgy, atmo-spheric physics, space technology, and education. There are also fu-ture opportunities for satellite launch, with a growing demand for small-satellite launches. Future recommendations for Sweden are to develop institutional support for suborbital flights on an EU level, and to initi-ate collaborations for a suborbital flights program with a vehicle concept that provides better microgravity time and level than parabolic flights, and offers the possibility to have a human operator.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 90 p.
TRITA-AVE, ISSN 1651-7660 ; 2015:82
Keyword [en]
suborbital flight, space research, research opportunities, emerging segment
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-185232OAI: diva2:919666
Available from: 2016-04-14 Created: 2016-04-14 Last updated: 2016-04-14Bibliographically approved

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