This paper describes the final design status of a partially reusable space transportation system which has been under study for five years within the German future launcher technology research program ASTRA. It consists of dual booster stages, which are attached to an advanced expendable core. The design of the reference liquid fly-back boosters (LFBB) is focused on LOX/LH2 propellant and a future advanced gas-generator cycle rocket motor. The preliminary design study was performed in close cooperation between DLR and the German space industry. The paper's first part describes recent progress in the design of this reusable booster stage.The second part of the paper assesses a long-term, strategic scenario of the reusable stage's operation. The general idea is the gradual evolution of the above mentioned basic fly-back booster vehicle into three space transportation systems performing different tasks: Reusable First Stage for a small launcher application, successive development to a fully reusable TSTO, and booster for a super-heavy-lift rocket to support an ambitious space flight program like manned Mars missions. The assessment addresses questions of technical sanity, preliminary sizing and performance issues and, where applicable, examines alternative options.
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