Henry Barahona

Document Type

Honors Thesis


As of Spring 2021, Virgin Galactic is attempting to become the first company to provide commercial space tourism by starting its two-stage-to-sub-orbit (TSTSO) flight program as early as the first quarter of 2022. But why stop here? This work presents the analysis of the next challenge: a single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) space tourism vehicle. Specifically, this work presents the parametric sizing (PS) analysis of a SSTO space tourism vehicle with a rocket-based combined-cycle (RBCC) engine and horizontal takeoff horizontal landing (HTHL) capabilities. This analysis was performed through the synthesis framework of hypersonic convergence. With hypersonic convergence, the wing planform area is iterated until the weight and volume budgets (functions of the structure, geometry, propulsion, mission, and system specifications) of the vehicle converge to define the takeoff gross weight. Consequently, the main results of this analysis were the 2-D and 3-D solution space screenings of the takeoff gross weight versus planform area for an array of input variables, such as the slenderness parameter of the vehicle, and the comparison with other space tourism vehicle designs for sub-orbital and orbital missions.

Publication Date






To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.