THE SHUTTLE FERRY ROCKET STORY
Forty years ago, after many years of preliminary studies, men at Goodyear were busy designing and analyzing shuttle vehicle concepts for ferrying men and materials into and out of earth orbit and beyond on a regular and economical basis.
Using experimental data from Goddard's work and others gathered over the preceeding 40 years,
plu~ captured German high speed flight and rocket data, their studies had already reached the point where they were firmly convinced of the absolute necessity for such a reusable ferry vehicle operating to and from orbiting space stations.
So from about 1951 to 1954 they diligently pursued basic concepts and alternatives to focus on a design that would meet the main objectives. The final two years were aimed at the design and analysis of the orbital shuttle vehicle system shown here and the derivative orbital station concept illustrated.
A comprehensive technical paper covering the ferry rocket vehicle system portion was presented by Mr. Darrell Romick at the American Rocket Society (ARS) meeting in New York in 1954, and one covering the station was presented in Chicago in 1955. Both papers were presented as a complete system in Rome at the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) meeting in 1956. Another, including lunar landing, was presented in Barcelona in 1957. The concepts were shown on national television (Today show) in 1954. The accompanying illustrations are from the early 1954 and 1955 papers.
The Goodyear officials called the first version of a complete operational orbital shuttle vehicle and orbital terminal the METEOR system (for Manned Earth Terminal evolving from Earth-Orbit-ferry Rockets).
A somewhat smaller version, with other variations and improvements, was called METEOR, Jr. It was first published in 1957. An improved HTOL (for horizontal takeoff and landing) version with more advanced tuiboramjet takeoff propulsion was published in 1959 (although it was withdrawn at the request of the Air Force).
Goodyear engineers continued a vigorous campaign with continuing analytical and promotional efforts, working with the Air Force and people at the Army Ballistics Missile Agency (ABMA --von Braun and crew at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Ala.) and later, when it was formed, with NASA --throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s, since in those days the main proponents at all these agencies were part of a relatively small. group well acquainted with each other's work and ideas. However, at this point the "moon landing" Apollo program emerged to in effect sideline for a time all ideas for building a space capability via a space transportation system of the Meteor or Shuttle variety.
So it was not until the Apollo program was nearing its end that this philosophy and these ideas were again taken up and promoted,