SO MANY WAYS…ORBITAL HORIZONTAL LAUNCH VARIANTS

shuttle_concept_rockwell_2

ONCE UPON A TIME THE SPACE SHUTTLE LOOKED LIKE AN AIRPLANE!

Take a look at some space plane concepts and systems that we know of.  Many flavors are possible, but trade studies will narrow the choices.  Where would you take this design idea?

HORIZONTAL LAUNCH CONCEPTS past and present

TURBINE AIRCRAFT AND EXPENDABLE UPPER STAGES

T SPACE http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T/Space

AIR LAUNCH RU http://www.airlaunch.ru/

GENERATION ORBIT http://www.generationorbit.com/index.html

LOW DEVELOPMENT COST

FIRST STAGE AERODYNAMIC LIFT

FIRST STAGE AIR BREATHING ENGINES

1ST STAGE LOW PERFORMANCE

UPPER STAGES NON-REUSABLE

TURBINE AIRCRAFT AND AERODYNAMIC LIFT EXPENDABLE UPPER STAGES

ORBITAL SCIENCES PEGASUS             http://www.orbital.com/LaunchSystems/SpaceLaunchVehicles/Pegasus/

VIRGIN GALACTIC LAUNCHER ONE             http://www.virgingalactic.com/launcherOne/performance-and-specification/

STRATOLAUNCH  http://www.stratolaunch.com/

MODERATE DEVELOPMENT COST

1ST STAGE LOW PERFORMANCE

FIRST STAGE AERODYNAMIC LIFT

FIRST STAGE AIR BREATHING ENGINES

UPPER STAGES GAIN AERODYNAMIC LIFT

UPPER STAGES NON-REUSABLE

TURBINE AIRCRAFT AND AERODYNAMIC LIFT REUSABLE UPPER STAGES

MIRYA http://www.buran-energia.com/mriya-antonov/mriya-desc.php

HIGH DEVELOPMENT COSTS

INCREASED RELIABILITY WITH REUSABILITY

FIRST STAGE AERODYNAMIC LIFT

FIRST STAGE AIR BREATHING ENGINES

FIRST STAGE LOW PERFORMANCE

SOME MID STAGES OR TANKS NON-REUSABLE

COMPROMISE: UPPER STAGE DRAG OR LOST WING LIFT

UPPER STAGES CAN BE REUSABLE

POSSIBLE SAFETY ADVANTAGE FOR RUNWAY LANDINGS

TURBINE/ROCKET AIRCRAFT AND AERODYNAMIC LIFT REUSABLE UPPER STAGES

SPIRAL http://www.buran-energia.com/spiral/spiral-project-desc.php

SPACECAB http://bristolspaceplanes.com/projects/spacecab/

HIGH DEVELOPMENT COSTS

INCREASED RELIABILITY WITH REUSABILITY

FIRST STAGE AERODYNAMIC LIFT

FIRST STAGE HIGH PERFORMANCE ROCKET BOOSTED

SOME FAIRINGS MAY BE NON-REUSABLE

UPPER STAGE COMPROMISE: DRAG OR LOST LIFT

UPPER STAGES REUSABLE

POSSIBLE SAFETY ADVANTAGE FOR RUNWAY LANDINGS

MAY OFFER AIRFRAME FOR NEW PROPULSION TYPES:

REACTION ENGINES or HYPERSONIC

TURBINE/ROCKET AIRCRAFT AND AERODYNAMIC LIFT REUSABLE UPPER STAGES WITH IN-LINE STAGING

EXODUS AEROSPACE http://exospace.wordpress.com/

HIGH DEVELOPMENT COSTS

INCREASED RELIABILITY WITH REUSABILITY

FIRST STAGE AERODYNAMIC LIFT

FIRST STAGE AIR BREATHING ENGINES

FIRST STAGE HIGH PERFORMANCE ROCKET BOOSTED

SOME FAIRINGS MAY BE NON-REUSABLE

LOW AERODYNAMIC DRAG

UPPER STAGE CONTRIBUTES TO LIFT / WING AREA

UPPER STAGES REUSABLE

POSSIBLE RAIL LAUNCH BOOST AND LIGHTER LANDING GEAR

POSSIBLE SAFETY ADVANTAGE FOR RUNWAY LANDINGS

MAY OFFER AIRFRAME FOR NEW PROPULSION TYPES:

REACTION ENGINES or HYPERSONIC

ROCKET AIRCRAFT AND EXPENDABLE UPPER STAGES

XCOR LYNX http://xcor.com/lynx/

MODERATE DEVELOPMENT COSTS

LOST ADVANTAGE OF AIR BREATHING ENGINES

NO DEAD WEIGHT OF AIR BREATHING ENGINES

NON-REUSABLE UPPER STAGES

SINGLE STAGE TO ORBIT

SKYLON http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/space_skylon.html

BEST EFFICIENCY…BUT TECH DEPENDANT

POSSIBLE SAFETY ADVANTAGE FOR RUNWAY LANDINGS

HIGH RISK AND DEVELOPMENT COST

CONCEPTS NOT (known to be) UNDER DEVELOPMENT, POSSIBLE HIGH RISK

PURE ROCKET AIRCRAFT AND AERODYNAMIC LIFT EXPENDABLE UPPER STAGES

LOST ADVANTAGE OF AIR BREATHING ENGINES

NON-REUSABLE UPPER STAGES

PURE ROCKET AIRCRAFT AND AERODYNAMIC LIFT REUSABLE UPPER STAGES

LOST ADVANTAGE OF AIR BREATHING ENGINES

POSSIBLE SAFETY ADVANTAGE FOR RUNWAY LANDINGS

REUSABLE DEVELOPMENT COSTS

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Soon I hope to take on a silly exercise.  That will be easy to find; we can re-design an existing silly exercise called the Space Launch System.  If the senate has rescued parts of a failed vehicle for our heavy lifter we hope they saved the good parts.  Memory suggests that the solid booster was part of the problem at one time.  At least the crew will be out in front of problems in that area this time.

Unfortunately the orbiter was a good part that we hope to save now.  Perhaps we can save the booster too.  The new NASA lifter uses a big liquid fuel system that we may be able to put to work on a new concept.  If this project is considered by some to be a “pork barrel” system perhaps we can trim some of the fat.  If voters never trim the fat out of Congress we may have a really heavy lifter to pay for.  But we may also find a light lifter for the man-rated missions.  So a future article will look at curing the pork…WE CAN HAVE HAM ON WRY HUMOR!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s