Europa Shuttlecraft

From NSwiki, the NationStates encyclopedia.
Jump to: navigation, search
Europa Class Shuttle (click to enlarge).

Europa Program Overview

Europa Class Shuttle Components (click to enlarge).

ZMI’s Space Shuttle Europa program, officially designated ALJN-PRO (Air Launched Jet/ NERVA propelled reusable orbiter) is the Incorporated State of Zeppelin Manufacturers largest pre Resource War 1 manned launch vehicle capable of re-entry.

The Europa’s titanium upper aeroshell is manufactured by Megacity Aerospace Systems (MAS), its avionics systems were manufactured by MAS and General Data Technologies, its Teflon coated ceramic heat shield is manufactured by CCA (Chemicals for Commercial Applications) a jointly owned SCAPA and General Data Technologies subdivision. The recoverable jet pod based around the MAS E-1490 Jet engine were assembled by SCAPA as were the associated drop tanks. The primary drop tank was constructed by Radical Designs for exospheric operations ltd. The twin block 1 DMN - Starlight 80 nuclear engines for rocket vehicle application were used on test frame Silver and orbiter 001 Drexel produced 1,480,340 kilo Newton’s of thrust and were manufactured by SCAPA but later replaced with the more powerful and thrust vector capable Samson Aviatrix 220’s which generate 1,690,400 kilo Newton’s of thrust. The Aviatrix 220’s were initially developed for the failed Corona orbital bomber program. The Corona was originally designed to be a sister program to the Europa but was officially cancelled due to extreme projected cost overruns and insurmountable technical difficulties with the Corona’s heat shield and fast launch / constant standby systems, though many conspiracy theorists think this was merely a cover for continuing the Corona program covertly. Though a study of the direct military uses of the Europa as a weapons platform were continued and eventually applied. The Corona program was finally made superfluous when its mission niche was filled by the successful deployment of the ZMN’s Starbolt under the ZMN Tactical Bombardment Program.

The Europa is the second ZMSF orbital spacecraft designed for reusability. It carries large payloads to various orbits, provides crew rotation for Space Station Monarch, and performs servicing missions. The vehicle was designed with the capacity to recover satellites and other payloads from orbit and return them to Earth, this capacity is used often to replace or service ONDA (Orbital Nuclear Deterrent Array) and DBP (Defensive Orbital Array) components.

Each Europa was designed for a projected life span of 380 launches or 20 years of operation.

The program started in the late 1980s and has dominated the ZMSF’s manned operations since the Drexel’s launch on may 5th 1996. The initial requirements were for a reusable orbiter capable of carrying 30 tons to orbit and prolonged stay in orbit. The NERVA allows the Europa to fulfil the later which most of the conventionally propelled proposals failed to do without large mass expenditures in the form of mission specific solar panels or a nuclear battery. The initial five years of operation were designated to the completion of Space Station Monarch’s OCS (Orbital Construction Scaffold) under the aegis of the ZMSF ’s Solar Exploration Initiative (SEI) and the completion of the deployment of the EWAONT (enormous wide area orbital networked telescope) Magellans Eye.

The last Europa, series number 1,239 Torrent was formally decommissioned 23 years after the end of Resource war 2 after over sixty three years of service. At their height in the midst of Resource War 1 a fleet of over 128 Europa’s were in use. The same basic aeroshell layout was still in use by the rebels in Gastins world revolt over 380 years later.


Europa Internal Systems Layout.

The initial Europa Model A has two large payload bays, filling most of the fuselage. The payload bay doors have heat radiators mounted on their inner surfaces, and so are kept open for thermal control while the Europa is in orbit. Thermal control is also maintained by adjusting the orientation of the Europa relative to Earth and Sun. Europa 023 Dauntless tested a laser heat pump system instead of conventional radiator panels, after Dauntless all Europa’s were equipped with laser heat pumps. Inside the primary or "C" payload bay (cargo) in the Model A are the Remote Manipulator Systems, a robot arm used to retrieve and deploy payloads. The "M" or Mission payload bay is internally divided from the C bay by the drone deployment and support system. The Model B does away with the dual bays and has a more conventional "shuttle" style layout.

Internally the Europa remained largely similar to the original design, with the exception that the avionics continue to be improved and the addition of an emergency alternative liquid atmosphere modification in model 031. The original systems were "hardened" GDT computers connected to an "all glass" cockpit with analogue backup.

The Europa crew escape system's initial large level of development are due primarily to fears of catastrophic NERVA malfunction or damage to the NERVA's shielding. The entire forward "control" section which can jettison the rear "operations" section becoming a self contained orbiter / RV that is capable of controlled gliding and containing the primary life support systems. It is equipped with two solid booster rockets, a separate reaction control system (RCS) and the forward GOX/Kerosene fed Orbital Manoeuvring System mount.

A cargo-only, unmanned variant drone of the Europa was proposed in late 1998 with a test bed built in 2007 in the form of 018 Icarus. It is called the Europa UC and traded radiation shielding, the forward "life boat" and crew and support equipment and related supplies for cargo capacity.

Europa’s Secondary Orbital Manoeuvring System uses (GOX/Kerosene). It is known amongst the crews as the silent partner as it is rarely if ever used.

The Europa is far safer than conventional rocket powered launches as it carries far smaller quantities of oxidiser.

The Europa’s primary thrust comes from two NERVA units designed to use LH2, NERVA is an acronym for Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application and is a nuclear thermal rocket. In a nuclear thermal rocket a working fluid, usually hydrogen, is heated in a high temperature nuclear reactor, and then expands through a rocket nozzle to create thrust. The nuclear reactor's energy replaces the chemical energy of the reactive chemicals in a traditional rocket engine. Due to the high energy of the nuclear reactions compared to chemical ones, about 10 to the 7 times, the resulting efficiency of the engine is at least twice as good as chemical engines even considering the weight of the reactor, and even higher for advanced designs such as the Europas.

The Europa’s twin Aviatrix 220’s are nuclear light bulb engines, where the gaseous nuclear fuel is contained in a super-high-temperature quartz container, over which the LH2 flows. It is a closed cycle engine limited by the critical temperature of quartz instead of the fuel stack. Although less efficient than an open-cycle design, the closed-cycle design delivers a rather respectable specific impulse and does not emit a radioactive "hot" exhaust which would be highly detrimental to the environment. The Europa’s intakes allow the Aviatrix 220's to switch from being nuclear thermal expansion rockets to being nuclear thermal expansion ram jets. 040 Hamilton in 2018 was the first Europa equipped with a fully air breathing system requiring no oxidiser supply whatsoever. All earlier versions used oxidiser located in the primary drop tank. They do therefore not have to glide to landing but can engage in powered flight post orbit if equipped with an auxiliary fuel tank in the cargo bay to do so. This modification is known as Jumper.

Europa’s normally deploy open intakes in the 1st and 2nd stages of launch and utilise the Aviatrix 220's Nuclear thermal expansion ram jet mode.

While Europa’s can engage in powered landings and flight they cannot take of unassisted and must be ferried to launch position and height.

The Europas primary ferry and launch assist vehicle is the K2 8800 SkyJack Europa S (special) Zeppelin.


Europa Launch Process.

The Europa can be launched via a conventional style solid booster system. However it is primarily designed for launch in the following fashion. The K2 8800 SkyjackEuropa S mothership cruises to a point upon equator with acceptable weather conditions and then rises to its maximum operational altitude of 41,800 feet. The Aerodynamic Zeppelin Ferrying Pod (AZP), then deploys the launch strut and the Europa is moved to launch position. The Europa then engages the recoverable jet pod. The Europa is then jettisoned and uses the recoverable jet pod to get to a safe ignition distance from the mothership. The Europa manoeuvres into a proper ignition orientation then the Aviatrix 220’s are engaged in NTR mode. When sufficient speed is reached the NTR is shut down and the Aviatrix's are switched to NTRJ. At this point the jet pod and its drop tanks are jettisoned. When 68,000 feet is reached the NTR is reengaged and the intakes are shut. The NTR is switched of when sustained escape velocity is achieved. At this point the primary drop tank is jettisoned. However on four flights of 004 Dancer an integral fuel tank mounted in the cargo bay allowed the sufficient thrust to lift the drop tanks to orbit where they were attached to space station Monarch for conversion into usable modules. This modification is designated Long Jumper.


The Europa Shuttle consists of three main components: the reusable Orbiter itself, a large finned white expendable external drop tank mounted beneath the main body, and the recoverable jet pod based around the MAS E-1490 Jet engine and two small conventional jet fuel filled drop tanks . The main tank, jet pod and smaller drop tanks are jettisoned during an ordinary ascent, so only the Orbiter goes into orbit.

  • The reusable Europa, with one or two large payload bays and two main engines.
  • The large expendable external fuel drop tank (EFDT) containing liquid hydrogen for the two main engines of the Europa. It is usually discarded in the ascent phase and deploys a series of ribbon parachutes to slow its decent to sub mach speeds, it then deploys a duo of Ram-air parachutes and utilises the controllable nature of the Ram air chutes to glide itself autonomously to a pre determined retrieval zone. A non-recoverable variant with a higher fuel capacity is sometimes used for heavy lift missions.
  • The MAS E-1490 recoverable jet engine pod deploys a single Ram air parachute for retrieval. The drop tanks brake up shortly after release.

Mission Variants

Initial plans for the Europa included space tugs and extra fuel tanks engines, among many other concepts. The following concepts were successfully implemented in the first decades of Europa operations:

Jumper: An internal fuel tank mounted in the main cargo bay, standard use is for space tug operations.

Long Jumper: An internal fuel tank mounted in the main cargo bay, which allows the FDT to be taken into orbit, can also act in lieu of the Trans-lunar fuel module.

Trans Lunar Fuel Module: An external fuel tank mounted at Space Station Monarch on one of the FDT link points, secondary use for heavy duty space tug operations.

Europa UC : A cargo-only, unmanned variant drone of the Europa. It trades radiation shielding, the forward "life boat" and crew and support equipment and related supplies for cargo capacity.


Length: 113.74 Metres
Width: 74.06 Metres
1 × MAS dynamics E-1490 Jet engine thrust: 1,490 Kilo Newton’s.
Nuclear Thermal Expansion Ram Jet Thrust: 138,680 Kilo Newton’s
NERVA thrust: 3,380,800 Kilo Newton’s
Orbiter mass: 124,737 kilograms
External Primary Drop Tank Mass: 462,000 kilograms
Maximum payload to Orbit: 45,400 Kilograms.
Operational altitude: 185km to Lunar Orbit
Speed: 27,875 km/h
Passenger capacity: 18 Astronauts

Cost Per Europa: 68 Billion Rungs @ 1 Rung = $1.6293


  • Crew rotation of Space Stations
  • Manned servicing missions
  • Manned experiments in LEO
  • Carry to LEO
  • Carry to HEO
  • Carry to Lagrange point, L-point, or liberation point (with Jumper modification or refuelling integral tanks at Monarch)
  • Carry to Lunar Orbit (with translunar fuel module in mission bay or refuelling at Monarch of primary tank use of Long Jumper).
  • Core of Interplanetary Manned Missions

Initial Europa fleet

Silver (test bed, no series number, presently on permanent display in Acrington Aerospace Museum, Megacity one)
001 Drexel (Operational May 1996, retrofitted with new engines July 1997)
002 Dawn (Operational December 1996, tested Trans Lunar Fuel Module)
003 Dreamer (Operational April 1997, first Model B)
004 Dancer (Operational June 1998, Destroyed June 4th 2004 by integral fuel tank rupture while docked to Space Station Monarch, test bed for long jumper)
005 Venture (Operational May 1999, tested air scoop refuelling)
006 to 009 (Designated for sale to Spizania)
009 & 012 (Designated for ZMSF weaponisation and stealth system test bed respectively)
012 to 014 (Designated for sale to the Scandavian States)
015 (Designated as Europa UC test bed)
- 004 Dancer is used as component of Mars Shot - 016 to 021 (Designated for Sale to the Scandavian States
022 (Designated for sale to Spizania)
023 Dauntless (Laser Heat Pump Test bed)
-Upgrades and retrofitting of 001 to 004-
024 (Designated for Sale to the Soviet Bloc)
025 to 027 (Designated as Europa UC's)
028 to 030 (Designated for Sale to the Scandavian States)
031 Quin (Liquid Atmosphere testing)
032 (Designated for Sale to the Soviet Bloc)
-Retirement of 001 and 002-
034 Drexel II (Designated for ZMSF use)
035 Dawn II (Designated for civilian lifting)
036 to 039 (Designated for the Scandavian States)
040 Hamilton (true Air breathing NTRJ)
041 Hugo (Designated for ZMSF use)
042 & 043 (Designated for the Scandavian States)
044 to 050 (Designated for use by SCAPA)
050 to 060 (Designated for ZMDF use)
061 & 062 (Designated for Sale to Aralonia)