Orbiter-Forum  

Go Back   Orbiter-Forum > Far Side of the Moon > Spaceflight News
Register Blogs Orbinauts List Social Groups FAQ Projects Mark Forums Read

Spaceflight News Share news, stories, or discussions about government and private spaceflight programs; including ESA, ISS, NASA, Russian Space Program, Virgin Galactic, & more!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old
Fabri91's Avatar
Fabri91 Fabri91 is offline
Donator
Default Stratolaunch
by Fabri91 12-13-2011, 06:54 PM

Quote:
Designer Burt Rutan, billionaire Paul Allen, rocketman Elon Musk and former NASA boss Mike Griffin are teaming to develop an air-launch rocket system that would use a super aircraft that size of two 747s to carry a liquid-fueled SpaceX booster to 30,000 feet where it would be dropped to fire hardware and humans into orbit.

...
Private spaceflight gets new contender with Stratolaunch - Spaceflightnow.com



Stratolaunch.com website
Reply With Quote
Views 33019 Comments 125
Total Comments 125

Comments

Old 12-13-2011, 07:05 PM   #3
RisingFury
OBSP developer
 
RisingFury's Avatar
Default

That's why we need private spaceflight
RisingFury is offline   Reply With Quote
Thanked by:
Old 12-13-2011, 07:32 PM   #4
Thunder Chicken
Fine Threads since 2008
 
Thunder Chicken's Avatar
Default

Boy, they sure are keeping the animations department busy, aren't they

Great ideas, crazy (meant in a good way) visions, and deep pockets. It's all good, but I hope SpaceX doesn't trip over its shoelaces while looking too far ahead. I think they need to get their heads down, get humble, and get well-practiced in the art of putting dumb rockets into orbit cheaply. They have had some successes, some failures - they need some more experience before they start acting on Elon's dreams.

NASA and the Russians have been in the game for over half a century and they haven't put together anything as crazy as SpaceX is suggesting. That isn't a reflection on their intelligence or capability, but on the difficulty of the task of just getting stuff upstairs into orbit.
Thunder Chicken is offline   Reply With Quote
Thanked by:
Old 12-13-2011, 07:41 PM   #5
T.Neo
SA 2010 Soccermaniac
Default

Wow, what a surprise. It does look like something out of a NuSpace fanboy's dreams though...

Also, Mike Griffin. This can't end well...

Quote:
NASA and the Russians have been in the game for over half a century and they haven't put together anything as crazy as SpaceX is suggesting. That isn't a reflection on their intelligence or capability, but on the difficulty of the task of just getting stuff upstairs into orbit.
Difficulty isn't the only reason entities like NASA don't try this. There is only so much funding to go around, and there are other considerations, too.

But the concept is pretty similar to Orbital's Pegasus rocket. In fact, it looks very vaguely similar... the difference however is that pegasus is far smaller, and is a solid fueled system rather than a large liquid fueled one. The mothership seems to be a pretty interesting (read: usual) Rutan design, incorperating the twin-hull configuration seen in WhiteKnight Two as well as minor asymmetry.

This sort of air-launch stuff isn't really new, see the t/Space concept of operations. Also airlifted by a Scaled Composites aircraft, though there are many differences:


Last edited by T.Neo; 12-13-2011 at 07:46 PM.
T.Neo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2011, 07:44 PM   #6
MaverickSawyer
Acolyte of the Probe
 
MaverickSawyer's Avatar
Default

OK, this I gotta see tried at least once.
MaverickSawyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2011, 07:49 PM   #7
T.Neo
SA 2010 Soccermaniac
Default

Also: Falcon 5 is seemingly back from the dead!
T.Neo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2011, 07:59 PM   #8
orb
O-F Administrator
Ninja
 
orb's Avatar

Default

Parabolic Arc: Paul Allen Stratolaunch Press Conference — Live Blogging
orb is offline   Reply With Quote
Thanked by:
Old 12-13-2011, 08:41 PM   #9
T.Neo
SA 2010 Soccermaniac
Default

A couple of things/questions I see;

1. 1300 nautical miles from the launch site. Based on very rudimentary observations in Google Earth, shouldn't that be enough for a non-doglegged polar orbit if staged from KSC?

2. Where do they keep the LOX? The stuff boils off constantly and you need to keep it topped off. Also, isn't keeping the propellants inside the LV tanks during liftoff and cruise a safety risk?

3. The animation is just an animation, but; where is the nozzle extension on the second stage? Maybe this vehicle doesn't need the nozzle extension to reach its target performance? How does that affect payload to higher orbits?

4. Are the astronauts supposed to stay inside the Dragon all the way through to launch? Isn't that a safety risk? Or perhaps logistically problematic?

5. Can this thing even carry a crew Dragon? Griffin stated "capacity to launch a six person vehicle into space"- does this mean that Dragon is stripped down/has its capabilities reduced when part of this system, or that it lost a passenger in capability somewhere along the road?

6. There's a graphic showing this thing with a payload fairing, and it is only a graphic, and at an odd angle... but it looks narrower than the F9 fairing. Is SpaceX supposed to develop a new fairing for this?

7. Part of the idea is supposedly not to be tied to traditional launch sites, but they speak about launching from KSC. Isn't that a traditional launch site? Maybe they mean it from more of a geographic point of view than an economic/logistical one.

8. Maybe a whole other rationale behind this is to develop a huge aircraft for an air cargo market?

Last edited by T.Neo; 12-13-2011 at 08:44 PM.
T.Neo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2011, 08:47 PM   #10
MaverickSawyer
Acolyte of the Probe
 
MaverickSawyer's Avatar
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by T.Neo View Post
 A couple of things/questions I see;

1. 1300 nautical miles from the launch site. Based on very rudimentary observations in Google Earth, shouldn't that be enough for a non-doglegged polar orbit if staged from KSC?

2. Where do they keep the LOX? The stuff boils off constantly and you need to keep it topped off. Also, isn't keeping the propellants inside the LV tanks a safety risk? Maybe the propellants are stored within the aircraft and only loaded right before launch.

3. The animations is just an animation, but; where is the nozzle extension on the second stage? Maybe this vehicle doesn't need the nozzle extension to reach its target performance? How does that affect payload to higher orbits?

4. Are the astronauts supposed to stage inside the Dragon all the way through to launch? Isn't that a safety risk? Or perhaps logistically problematic?

5. Can this thing even carry a crew Dragon? Griffin stated "capacity to launch a six person vehicle into space"- does this mean that Dragon is stripped down/has its capabilities reduced when part of this system, or that it lost a passenger in capability somewhere along the road?

6. There's a graphic showing this thing with a payload fairing, and it is only a graphic, and at an odd angle... but it looks narrower than the F9 fairing. Is SpaceX supposed to develop a new fairing for this?

7. Part of the idea is supposedly not to be tied to traditional launch sites, but they speak about launching from KSC. Isn't that a traditional launch site? Maybe they mean it from more of a geographic point of view than an economic/logistical one.
1. yep.
2. What if they use that new MLI that you found recently? that should help.
3. probably an oversight.
4. That's a very good question.
5. Maybe it can't haul a fully crewed Dragon. Maybe it's only a partial crew.
6. It shouldn't be that hard to design a new fairing.
7. Using KSC or Vandenburg makes sense from a logistical standpoint. How many airports do you know of with access to RP-1 and/or LOX?
MaverickSawyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2011, 09:08 PM   #11
T.Neo
SA 2010 Soccermaniac
Default

Quote:
2. What if they use that new MLI that you found recently? that should help.
Yeah, that's kind of what I thought... but could it be available for use in the timeframe for this thing?

Quote:
3. probably an oversight.
I think it'd be a pretty big oversight, since the expansion nozzle is pretty... big.

Maybe it would pay to delve into the history of Falcon 5, which started with dual Kestrels and ended up using a MVac.

Quote:
5. Maybe it can't haul a fully crewed Dragon. Maybe it's only a partial crew.
But what is the mass reduction you achieve by removing a single crew member?

Quote:
6. It shouldn't be that hard to design a new fairing.
It's a payload fairing! Surely it's got to be pretty expensive to develop a new one, though Mr Allen is fitting the bill...

Quote:
7. Using KSC or Vandenburg makes sense from a logistical standpoint. How many airports do you know of with access to RP-1 and/or LOX?
But where are the RP-1 and LOX facilities at RWY-33? Those sorts of things may exist elsewhere in the immediate vicinity, but that doesn't mean much if they're not at the runway itself.

What about other considerations that could be required by this system?

Maybe SpaceX is involved because they're actually inept at operating their launch infrastructure... this could eliminate that problem for them, in this case.
T.Neo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2011, 09:16 PM   #12
Wood
Orbinaut
Default

This reminds me of a very interesting US Air Force air-launcher study that I read a while back. It mentioned super White Knight style carrier aircraft and SpaceX liquid rockets, among others. I'll try to find it...

Found it! (pdf)

Last edited by Wood; 12-13-2011 at 09:23 PM. Reason: Found it!
Wood is offline   Reply With Quote
Thanked by:
Old 12-13-2011, 09:40 PM   #13
anemazoso
Addon Developer
 
anemazoso's Avatar
Default

Watched the live press conference via livestream. Pretty funny to see Griffin and SpaceX on the same team.

I don't think this concept will ever beat the F9 if/when it is fully reusable, heck even partially reusable would still beat Stratolaunch price. That huge aircraft is going to cost an arm and a leg to build and maintain and it will serve a very small market in it's payload class.

I still think Elon's approach to lowering launch costs will win in the end. Lean, mean, mass producing machine. As for SpaceX participation in this venture, they will be a sub-contractor which means they will probably just sell them the boosters and not much else. I don't think SpaceX will come out of pocket and it could compliment there fleet with the smaller booster. But I have to wonder,

1. Will it cost less to produce a smaller booster like a Falcon 5?
2. If so is it enough to reduce the cost proportionately to the reduce payload mass?
3. In the press conference Burt said that the air-launch concept improves performance by about 5%. Is that enough to justify the cost of building and operating one of the largest aircraft in the world?
4. If a booster costs X, and a launch aircraft cost Y, why would it be better to to add X+Y? Doesn't it have to be greater than X alone?
4b. Or is it the reduced costs of launching from a dedicated pad?

Also, like T.Neo pointed out, I would not want to sit eyeballs down in the capsule during take-off and accent for 2+ hrs. just sounds like it would suck.

anemazoso is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2011, 09:44 PM   #14
Hielor
Defender of Truth

Default

We need an Orbiter model of this, stat!

Thoughts on the video:
- Man, nice turning radius on the ground. I'll need to update NoseWheelTurn...
- Guess the wind changed at KSC, looks like they took off 33 and landed 15?
- I can't be the only one thinking "go around, go around" on that landing video--way too high and fast, and they ate up a ton of runway in the roundout and flare...
Hielor is offline   Reply With Quote
Thanked by:
Old 12-13-2011, 09:45 PM   #15
anemazoso
Addon Developer
 
anemazoso's Avatar
Default

From the Horizontal Launch study posted by Wood above:
Quote:
For a nominal reference payload of 15,000 lbs, the study team developed several subsonic
carrier aircraft-based reference space launch point design vehicle (PDV) system concepts.
One example is a near-term system comprised of a two-stage launch vehicle with a
hydrocarbon-fueled first stage and a hydrogen-fueled second stage which is carried to
launch by a modified Boeing 747-400F carrier aircraft. This system concept is estimated to
require $936 million for DDT&E, and will result in a cost of approximately $9,600 per pound

of payload to orbit. Aerial fueling provides further performance and cost benefits by allowing
a larger launch vehicle and payload weight while meeting the carrier aircraft’s maximum
take-off weight. The study team found that existing technologies are sufficient to begin
DDT&E on a selected subsonic carrier aircraft-based space launch system concept, and that
flight testing of a technology demonstration concept could be initiated immediately.
Notice the bold portion. The emphasis is mine. AT $9600 per pound to orbit this sounds like this concept is a non starter.
anemazoso is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

  Orbiter-Forum > Far Side of the Moon > Spaceflight News


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:40 AM.

Quick Links Need Help?


About Us | Rules & Guidelines | TOS Policy | Privacy Policy

Orbiter-Forum is hosted at Orbithangar.com
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2007 - 2017, Orbiter-Forum.com. All rights reserved.