Author Topic: There should be more x rocketplanes  (Read 1684 times)

Offline quanthasaquality

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There should be more x rocketplanes
« on: 03/08/2017 05:32 PM »
The x-15 in the 60s was a productive experimental rocketplane, and showed some limits of an Inconel x airframe for atmospheric reentry. The x-34 had the potential to test out carbon composites. This leaves out many untested combinations.

A silicon carbide ceramic matrix composite rocketplane. A silicon nitride ceramic matrix composite rocketplane. A carbon carbon rocketplane. A titanium aluminide rocketplane. An inconel x rocketplane, with thermal barrier coating, and ablator on the outside. An inconel x rocketplane, with thermal barrier coating, and regenerative cooling. Hell, there could be an aluminum-boron rocketplane with thick silicon dioxide thermal insulation tiles. Modifications to silicon dioxide tiles could be tested.

There is much potential for r&d here, which would help in coming up with parameters for future reusable stages.

Offline Jim

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Re: There should be more x rocketplanes
« Reply #1 on: 03/08/2017 05:39 PM »

Don't need a flight vehicle to test out heat shield material.  That can be done in a lab.

Offline quanthasaquality

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Re: There should be more x rocketplanes
« Reply #2 on: 03/09/2017 10:46 AM »
Don't need a flight vehicle to test out heat shield material.  That can be done in a lab.

Many of the materials have been investigated in the lab for decades. Some are used in commercial products. There are titanium aluminide turbochargers on the market. Silicon nitride turbochargers were being researched by Nissan back in the 80s. zirconium oxide thermal barrier coated, steam cooled, super alloy turbine blades are currently used in high temperature turbines for electricity generation.

Of course it would be a good idea to build a small sample of materials for testing in a lab before building a small rocketplane out of said materials, but if you want to see if materials will be of practical use in a rocketplane, and what their limits are, there is no substitute for testing in the real world.

Offline Jim

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Re: There should be more x rocketplanes
« Reply #3 on: 03/09/2017 12:27 PM »
but if you want to see if materials will be of practical use in a rocketplane, and what their limits are, there is no substitute for testing in the real world.

Not really, building a rocket plane is not necessary for testing. It can be done other ways.
And another reason for not doing it, is that rocket planes have no practical use.

Offline quanthasaquality

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Re: There should be more x rocketplanes
« Reply #4 on: 03/09/2017 11:45 PM »
I guess if Congress isn't interested in anything reusable with higher performance than the x-15, there is going to be little research on the issue. The research seems more interested in scramjet aircraft. NASA built the Space Shuttle Orbiter without a precursor x program, and it turned out to be a lot more trouble than expected.

Offline Jim

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Re: There should be more x rocketplanes
« Reply #5 on: 03/10/2017 02:27 AM »
NASA built the Space Shuttle Orbiter without a precursor x program, and it turned out to be a lot more trouble than expected.

Shuttle was based on precursor X programs

Offline Jim

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Re: There should be more x rocketplanes
« Reply #6 on: 03/10/2017 02:31 AM »
I guess if Congress isn't interested in anything reusable with higher performance than the x-15,

what good is a suborbital rocket plane with more performance than an X-15?

And the X-planes are up to 57.

Offline Arch Admiral

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Re: There should be more x rocketplanes
« Reply #7 on: 03/10/2017 03:34 AM »
Even in the 1950s, most actual aircraft designers thought that the rocket X-plane program was a waste of public money that did not contribute to the design of real turbojet aircraft. Progress in turbojet power was so fast in those days that by the time the data from an X-plane had appeared in the NACA grey literature, private industry was already working on the next generation of fighters and bombers. Kelly Johnson was the most outspoken opponent of rocketplane research; he actually had the guts to tell a NACA review panel that the X-15 program should be cancelled, and voted against it. Of course the rest of the panel were being paid out of X-plane funds and voted to continue the program and their own jobs.

Remember that the X-1 program was started in 1942 due to the difficulty of getting accurate wind-tunnel data at supersonic speeds. By the time the X-1 actually flew, this problem had been solved by the Germans and the XP-86 actually exceeded Mach 1.0 before the X-1 did.

The detailed engineering of the X-planes was also frequently deficient, because the best engineers were working on higher priority military aircraft. Detailed histories reveal a lot of screw-ups, particularly in the engines.

Today with improved CFD there is no need for full-scale tests, even if the airlines or military saw any need for high-Mach flight.

Offline quanthasaquality

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Re: There should be more x rocketplanes
« Reply #8 on: 03/10/2017 02:21 PM »
I guess if Congress isn't interested in anything reusable with higher performance than the x-15,
what good is a suborbital rocket plane with more performance than an X-15?

Boeing had proposals for a reusable rocketplane booster for the Space Shuttle back in 2000 in place of SRBs It was to stage around mach 5. It also seemed to assume reusable kerolox engines with isps similar to the rd-180.

There wasn't any glider which returned from LEO, and used silicon dioxide insulating tiles. Nothing like the x-37b back in the 1960s.

Kelly Johnson opposed the x-15?

The detailed engineering of the X-planes was also frequently deficient, because the best engineers were working on higher priority military aircraft. Detailed histories reveal a lot of screw-ups, particularly in the engines.

Good. x planes should be flawed, and have bugs, and use cheaper engineers to keep costs down.

In our age of computer simulations, x plane programs x-43, and x-51, were still used. Computer models and concurrent development have lead to the flawed Ford carrier program.

Offline Jim

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Re: There should be more x rocketplanes
« Reply #9 on: 03/10/2017 03:54 PM »

1.  Boeing had proposals for a reusable rocketplane booster for the Space Shuttle back in 2000 in place of SRBs It was to stage around mach 5. It also seemed to assume reusable kerolox engines with isps similar to the rd-180.

2.  There wasn't any glider which returned from LEO,

3. and used silicon dioxide insulating tiles. Nothing like the x-37b back in the 1960s.

4.  In our age of computer simulations, x plane programs x-43, and x-51, were still used.

5. Computer models and concurrent development have lead to the flawed Ford carrier program.

Your basic premise is still wrong and none of your assertions matter.

1.  It was suppose to be an booster.  That is not the same as a rocket plane like the X-15.  There would be no sub scale or sub element flight testing that would have helped wit development.  It doesn't support your claim.

2.  There were many suborbital tests that provided data.  ASSET, PRIME, BG, and other entry vehicle test flights.

3.  There doesn't have to be test vehicles made of the exact same materials.   Vehicle shapes and materials can be tested separately.    The fact that you think this is a requirement shows that you do understand the process.

4.  They were testing the engines.  Also, the fact that they exist negates your argument.  X Planes still are in use.

5. There is nothing wrong with concurrent development if done right.  See Thor and Atlas.



Offline Jim

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Re: There should be more x rocketplanes
« Reply #10 on: 03/10/2017 03:56 PM »
This leaves out many untested combinations.


There is no need do such combination testing.   That is flawed thinking. 

Offline Jim

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Re: There should be more x rocketplanes
« Reply #11 on: 03/10/2017 03:59 PM »
but if you want to see if materials will be of practical use in a rocketplane, and what their limits are, there is no substitute for testing in the real world.

True, and the testing doesn't have to be in the shape of a rocketplane.  It can be done by attaching the material to another vehicle. 

The premise that all materials must be tested in a purpose build vehicle specifically for that material is wrong.

There is no point in continuing this thread. 
« Last Edit: 03/10/2017 04:06 PM by Jim »

Offline Donosauro

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Re: There should be more x rocketplanes
« Reply #12 on: 03/10/2017 04:06 PM »
2.  There were many suborbital tests that provided data.  ASSET, PRIME, BG, and other entry vehicle test flights.

I'm familiar with ASSET and PRIME, but what was BG?

Offline Jim

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Re: There should be more x rocketplanes
« Reply #13 on: 03/10/2017 04:08 PM »
2.  There were many suborbital tests that provided data.  ASSET, PRIME, BG, and other entry vehicle test flights.

I'm familiar with ASSET and PRIME, but what was BG?

Boost Glide

Offline quanthasaquality

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Re: There should be more x rocketplanes
« Reply #14 on: 03/11/2017 05:35 PM »
I'll just have to hold out hope that a scramjet powered plane will use a thermal barrier coating, and active cooling (fuel) to cool the structure, and it could be somewhat applicable to rocketplanes.

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