This paper gives an overview about the Aurora reusable space launcher concept study that was initiated in late-2015/early-2016. Within the Aurora study, several spaceplane-like vehicle configurations with different geometries, propulsion systems and mission profiles will be designed, investigated and evaluated with respect to their technical and economic feasibility. The first part of this paper will discuss the study logic and the current status of the Aurora studies and introduces the first vehicle configurations and their system design status. As the identification of highly efficient structural designs is of particular interest for Aurora, the structural design and analysis approach will be discussed in higher level of detail. A special design feature of the Aurora vehicle configurations is the utilization of the novel thin-ply composite material technology for structural mass reductions. Therefore, the second part of this paper will briefly discuss this technology and investigate the application and potential mass savings on vehicle level within simplified structural analysis studies. The results indicate that significant mass savings could be possible. Finally, an outlook on the next steps is provided.
- Thin-ply composites