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Integration of Suborbital Spaceflight at a Commercial Airport in France

Abstract : This article investigates a preliminary evaluation of the suitability of airports in France for reusable suborbital spaceflight operations. The authors propose a methodology and tool to easily perform preliminary spaceport site evaluation, which considers runway length and surface, local weather conditions, existing air and ground traffic, and safety for the uninvolved public. All of these have consequences on site selection for a spaceport. The authors briefly present the potential legal framework for suborbital flights in France with the objective of finding an acceptable regulatory framework. Due to the absence of explicit requirements, the U.S. regulations established by the FAA-AST have been used as a guideline to frame the scope of the investigations. A methodology has been developed and a weighting has been established for various criteria to rate any selected airport. Matlab and C scripts were authored to automate data-intensive aspects of the analysis. A simplified aerodynamic model for 2 representative space planes was developed to provide trajectory data for nominal and non-nominal flights. Data tables were created through manual entry and automated databases extraction to provide the input for the overall analysis. This article shows a case study of the airport in Montpellier, France, with a flight path directly over the Mediterranean Sea. The overall study shows that several airports in France are acceptable and justifies further investigations regarding their feasibility.
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https://hal-enac.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01469685
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Submitted on : Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 4:32:55 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 4:32:55 PM

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Jérôme Crevatin, Garrett Smith. Integration of Suborbital Spaceflight at a Commercial Airport in France . New Space, Liebert, 2016, 4 (3), pp 212-225. ⟨10.1089/space.2016.0006⟩. ⟨hal-01469685⟩

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