Document Type

Honors Thesis


The space race is reborn, with companies competing to be the first to send their paying passengers to space. Therefore, an economically viable route includes modifying an existing vehicle for this task. As such, the X–15 is the rocket plane for the job, as its capabilities include reaching the edge of space. The redesigned vehicle will be analyzed for performance characteristics from both the air drop and horizontal take–off single stage suborbital and orbital maneuvers. The applicable performance equations will be crafted into codes in Matlab, and first order estimations of the necessary performance parameters will be acquired. These results will be compared to competitors in order to determine feasibility and competitiveness. Performance results show that our vehicle requires a greater thrust than the original vehicle, but a similar burn time. Therefore, the redesigned space ship of tomorrow is a viable contender for cornering the market on space tourism.

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