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Journal of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE A

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 163–183 | Cite as

The overall layout of rocket-based combined-cycle engines: a review

  • Tian-tian Zhang
  • Zhen-guo Wang
  • Wei HuangEmail author
  • Jian Chen
  • Ming-bo Sun
Review
  • 24 Downloads

Abstract

Rocket-based combined-cycle (RBCC) engines are known as the most promising type of engine with the potential to realize ‘single stage to orbit’ (SSTO). This will dramatically reduce the cost of space round trips and improve the physical experience of astronauts. However, sixty years after this concept was first proposed, no RBCC engine has completed a real flight. The challenges in RBCC development include ejector, scramjet, mode transition, and thermal protection technologies. However, great progress has been made in recent years, suggesting a bright future for these engines. In this paper, we review worldwide progress in the overall layout of RBCC engines. The working process of RBCC engines is introduced to show their distinctiveness among traditional engines. RBCC engines are classified as rectangular section or axisymmetric configuration engines and the development of both types in different countries is reviewed. The engine-airframe integration design and mission planning of RBCC powered aircraft systems are analyzed separately. Even though RBCC powered aircraft and their missions remain conceptual, the design and planning processes are important for RBCC development and space round trips in the future. RBCC study is a typical multi-disciplinary design process. Research addressing the problems encountered by RBCC studies will promote the development of a range of disciplines relevant to aerospace science.

Key words

Rocket-based combined cycle (RBCC) engine Single stage to orbit (SSTO) Space round trip Engine-airframe integration 

火箭基组合循环发动机总体布局研究进展

概 要

本综述从总体布局层面综述火箭基组合循环 (RBCC)发动机在各个国家的发展现状, 旨在 展现该型发动机在单级入轨任务中的发展前景, 为设计组合循环发动机以及进行空天往返任务 规划提供参考。本文将RBCC 按照构型特点进行 归类并举例介绍, 概述了发动机-机身一体化设计 情况, 并简要介绍了RBCC 动力飞行器的任务规 划和多目标优化方法。当前, 尽管RBCC 的研究 面临着很多艰难的挑战, 但是RBCC 具有单级入 轨的潜力, 能够降低空天往返的成本。对RBCC 发动机系统中各个子系统的研究也有利于促进 其他相关学科的发展。

关键词

火箭基组合循环发动机 单级入轨 空天往返 发动机-机身一体化 

CLC number

V43 

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Copyright information

© Zhejiang University and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Aerospace Science and EngineeringNational University of Defense TechnologyChangshaChina

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