THE FANTASTIC VOYAGE PART 2
To some observers this may seem like just another “Walter Mitty” dream or a “Kerbal Space” vehicle. Far more qualified scientists and engineers have offered designs that faded into history before this one. Horizontal launch is still attractive and keeps coming back. This proposal uses known propulsion and components and some systems that are already in operation. New aeronautical theories are available so they have been proposed for this difficult mission.
Ideas, combinations and inventions have been patented by two or three parties and are included in this proposal. Scaled Composites may have a voice in the use of the “jack knife” configuration shown here. Some ideas will be considered in traded studies and applied or rejected. The in-line staging has been tested in models, and more prototypes are under construction now. Our objective is to provoke more engineering, jobs, investment, and industry. If a few eye-opening notions help stir the discussion of horizontal launch we may have a new industry growing here.
Bigelow Aerospace has proposed a Moon base, and interest is growing. Many types of commerce are possible, and a workforce in space is a growing reality. Human labor is still valuable, and they will need a ride to work. We don’t have to rely on tourism, but it will not hurt the market. The challenge is delivering transportation to low earth orbit. Once on orbit deep space and lunar vehicles can be docked at a space station for crew transfers.
Vertical launch may make boosters reusable but vertical landing is risky. We have working space planes now, so recovery with wings is proven. For human transportation the horizontal launch and recovery offers the best safety and comfort options. Vertical rockets may hold an edge in cargo, but we see a horizontal future for human passage.
We have heard some investor interest in operations with a fleet of aircraft that can carry enough passengers to pay off the investment. This is comparable to the airlines request for an aircraft larger than the DC2 back in the 1930s. My proposal to fly a crew of 20 may be too modest!
On the last post I left our readers in space, so now we will make a return in the lunar transfer vehicles to the space station. From there our space liner will begin a return to earth and your families.
Once your crew leaves the space station and re-docks with the orbiter we have to slow down a bit. The space station is moving at 17,000 miles per hour and we want to let gravity win over centrifugal force so we can go home.
Now we do a back flip so the rocket motor is pointed in the forward direction…Alley Oop!
This part of the trip gets us spinning several ways. A vacuum hose may be available for the joys of space sickness!
Now the liquid fuel rockets give us a measured burn to hit the brakes. Once we get under 17,000 mph we will start falling back to earth.
A rolling turn flips us back to face forward again. Then we begin to configure the orbiter for reentry.
High angle of attack and speed bleeding turns bring us into a controlled reentry…shields up!
The body flap is extended rearward to protect the engines and the crew vehicle is broadly shielded.
Slower speeds allow normal flight with the tails straightened out. Some rocket fuel may remain for cross range flight to the space port.
We must be close to home because the landing gear are down for final approach.
Like the Concorde we use a high angle of attack to generate a lift helping vortex. The elevators help this high angle flight, and keep the tails high to prevent a ground strike.
We are wheels down and safe on the runway. Passenger capsules will open during taxi run but please remain seated until we are fully stopped. If you have been in space for extended periods your legs may be a bit wobbly so stand up slowly!
SOME POSSIBLE EMERGENCY SCENARIOS
BOOSTER PROBLEM, ORBITER SEPARATES AND CRV DETACHES TO LAND ELSEWHERE. CRADLE TRUCK MATCHES BOOSTER SPEED AND LOCATION FOR RECOVERY NEAR THE RUNWAY IF POSSIBLE. ALTERNATE: IF BOOSTER IS VOLATILE IT TURNS OUT TO SEA FOR DESTRUCTION AND DITCHING.
MINOR BOOSTER PROBLEM, BOOSTER AND ORBITER LAND TOGETHER ON THE CRADLE TRUCK WHILE CRV DEPARTS TO LAND ELSEWHERE.
BOOSTER PROBLEM AT ALTITUDE; THE ORBITER SEPARATES AND POWERS THE CRV TO AN ALTERNATIVE LANDING FIELD (AFRICA?). CRV AND ORBITER LAND SEPARATELY AND THE BOOSTER MAY BE DITCHED OR ATTEMPT A LANDING AT A REMOTE FIELD. BOOSTER MAY BE LANDED ON THE CRADLE TRUCK IF THERE IS TIME TO REPOSITION THE TRUCK OR MEET A DIFFERENT TRUCK AT A DIFFERENT (Kennedy space center?) RUNWAY.