SALVATION; THE CREW RESCUE VEHICLE
How could Hans and Sophie Scholl dare to speak against the Nazis and Hitler? Part of their confidence was their Christian faith that promised resurrection. We all want to know there is a way home when everything goes wrong. In space we may not have a miracle, but we may have an escape route.
While this space craft may resemble the Titanic, we hope to have enough life boat space for everyone. In our case the whole crew is on the lifeboat for the entire journey. The crew rescue vehicle is based on the only operational space plane in the world. The X-37 is operational with the U.S. Air Force and serving well. However we did scale it up a bit.
This illustrates a Spartan interior with a little room to move or float about. For short shuttle flights we should not need many amenities. Perhaps the industrial designers will streamline things one day with movies and cup holders. Don’t look for meals though!
For a crew of twenty little room is left for propulsion. The only expected need is to slow down for reentry in an emergency. Thrusters can be used to maneuver the CRV for docking when needed.
The flight crew has essential controls in their capsules, and lesser systems on the dash and overhead consoles. Every passenger capsule provides simple vacuum bathroom facilities, with privacy doors closed. Too bad we don’t have the Star Trek food synthesizers yet!
We use these capsules instead of space suits for comfort and redundant safety. In the event of a hull breach an alarm will warn passengers that the doors will close. This is much faster than making sure that everyone has their gloves locked tight, helmets sealed, and zippers closed. And isn’t it grand to be able to scratch your nose with no fishbowl helmet! And how do you use the cup holders or the potty hose if you are buttoned up in a balloon suit? One answer: Depends!
The glass panels are the same thermal glass used on the exterior. Fire and smoke will not be the first threat for our crew. If things work out when the craft is in lower altitudes fresh air can be restored and capsules can be re-opened.
These illustrate how the X-37 might be docked for cargo service to the space station. Our vehicle has a top hatch like the space shuttle so this photo shows how it might dock to an air lock. Our CRV is a lot smaller so it could be a good candidate for docking.
When space flight becomes a more regular event there may be vehicles available for special needs.
If a vehicle is damaged, a rescue mission may be ready to go. Once an available vehicle is ready another docking type is possible.
Ready, roll over rover!
OK, let’s play match the hatch!
Did somebody call a cab? All Aboard!
If this vehicle is needed for an emergency it will be configured for reentry. Flying backwards allows a short engine burn, followed by another flip to fly ahead again. The all movable tails might be used as a combination of elevator and air braking.
With the body flap deployed, the engines are shielded from the heat of reentry. This phase may resemble that of our present X-37 as shown below.
There is one place we cut corners to save weight. Since this is an emergency vehicle, we eliminated landing gear in favor of a reinforced belly or landing skids.
Since emergencies are unplanned it may be good to have options for returning to land, water, or any clear open field.
Other alternatives for landing could include a parasail or even a system of vertical landing rockets. Passengers who ride safely home from a severely damaged vehicle may not be too disappointed by any system that delivers live passengers.