boacvc10
Posts: 469
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:31 pm

Tech Dream: Designing A New Aerospace Vehicle

Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:34 pm

For those a.net professionals here is IMHO a fun Scenario for us to spend our time on. If you can submit anything, you won't get recognition right away, so there is no prize here - except if a consensus develops in a serious manner, perhaps there are aerospace companies that will be calling you.


Assignment: {if you choose to accept the mission}

You have been tasked to conceptualize and present a 1 page proposal for a new carrier vehicle that takes off using conventional runways and cruises at high altitude. Choose one of the two configurations below based upon what you believe is possible with technology available at present, and that can be used to design and fly a prototype by 2013.

Format: 66 lines, 80 chars per line ! No diagrams. Size 8.5" x 11"
(ok, I am making this stuff up)

Quote:
[configuration A] The carrier vehicle will have have a primary payload
which will detach and accelerate into Low Earth Orbit after which it will return when its mission is complete and return to the carrier vehicle. The combined airframe will land on conventional runways.



Quote:
[configuration B] The carrier vehicle will have a design suitable for use as a hybrid aerospace vehicle with (a) variable geometry flight profile (b) LEO rated manned space capability and (c) reentry profile - similar to the existing STS (see below excerpt from Wikipedia) but with certain different standards:

* Must have powered flight in both air flight and space flight regimes
* Must have the ability to take off and land on conventional runways
* Must have the ability to eject crew in hypersonic flight if vehicle is disabled in rescue capsules
* Must be equipped with onboard communication system capable of maintaining comms during reentry
* Optional requirement is to have gentle descent profile instead of rapid deceleration

Science Fiction? Ah, but you haven't forgotten the great book 20,000 Leagues under the Sea have you ? How about the dreams of a guy called Icarus ?

Quote:
From Wikipedia:


NASA's Space Shuttle, officially called the Space Transportation System (STS), is the spacecraft currently used by the United States government for its human spaceflight missions and is scheduled to be retired from service in 2010. At launch, it consists of a rust-colored external tank (ET), two white, slender Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), and the orbiter, a winged spaceplane which is the space shuttle in the narrowest sense.

The orbiter carries astronauts and payload such as satellites or space station parts into low earth orbit, into the Earth's upper atmosphere or thermosphere.[1] Usually, five to seven crew members ride in the orbiter. The payload capacity is 22,700 kilograms (50,000 lb). When the orbiter's mission is complete it fires its Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) thrusters to drop out of orbit and re-enters the lower atmosphere.[1] During the descent, the shuttle orbiter decelerates from hypersonic speed primarily by aerobraking and then for the landing phase it acts as a glider, making a completely unpowered ("deadstick") landing.

BOACVC10
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wingscrubber
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RE: Tech Dream: Designing A New Aerospace Vehicle

Fri May 01, 2009 3:05 am

I've been daydreaming about a concept just like this for some time now, except I want to try to come up with a feasible conventional/catapult take-off hybrid jet/rocket orbital aircraft, to carry 5-10 people. A tall order but its really just a trade off of weight+fuel load vs available specific impulse to get you high and fast enough to orbit, plus the challenge posed by the different flight regimes (initial climb, acceleration to orbit, re-entry and convential landing) and the variable geometry flight configurations necessary to fly in them. Watching 'the right stuff' recently also got me thinking about it alot. So far Im picturing a delta-winged citation X with SRBs attached, or a bullet nosed one with variable sweep wings. I'll sit down and work it out sometime...
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DocLightning
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RE: Tech Dream: Designing A New Aerospace Vehicle

Fri May 01, 2009 6:42 am

I don't like this idea that it lands not on the ground, but on top of the carrier vehicle. That strikes me as in no way economical. You have to schlep that big carrier plane to catch something that, if left to its own devices, would come all the way down on its own.

Besides, the docking procedure with two aircraft in high-atmospheric flight. Gee, what could possibly go wrong with that?
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
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boacvc10
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Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:31 pm

RE: Tech Dream: Designing A New Aerospace Vehicle

Fri May 01, 2009 7:52 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 2):

Besides, the docking procedure with two aircraft in high-atmospheric flight. Gee, what could possibly go wrong with that?

docking not suggested, rather I would have suggested capturing the Spacecarft into cradle as it rendezvous with the carrier vehicle.

However of course the spacecraft could deploy wings during its descent trajectory and after it has reentered the atmosphere.

BOACVC10
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DocLightning
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RE: Tech Dream: Designing A New Aerospace Vehicle

Fri May 01, 2009 9:40 pm



Quoting BOACVC10 (Reply 3):

docking not suggested, rather I would have suggested capturing the Spacecarft into cradle as it rendezvous with the carrier vehicle.

Still, you have to bring two aircraft at high altitude together with a high degree of precision. Even with computers helping out, that's a humdinger of a logistical task.

On the one hand, the orbiter would save the weight of not having to have landing gear.

But on the other hand, we would save the cost of having to fly the catch-plane up there to collect the descending orbiter. I can't imagine that landing gear is that much more expensive.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan

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