Certainly an interesting arrangement, if nothing else.
I wonder if they will partner with JP Aerospace for the balloon part?
The art work has all nine engines firing at the same time and plumbing between stages. I would vote that they are planning to start with all 9 engines and use cross feed to maximize the T/W.
The conjecture that they save a large fraction of the energy needed to get to orbit by being in thin air at high altitude (from an atmospheric pressure standpoint) is at least an exaggeration.
I do see a bunch of challenges:...2. How feasible is it to launch a high altitude He balloon from a ship at sea, given that the launches I have seen online of He balloons require near zero wind. I'm guessing the boat will have to match velocity to the surface winds? Still sound precarious.
All engines can be vacuum engines due to high altitude launch.
Quote from: TrevorMonty on 03/14/2017 06:39 AMAll engines can be vacuum engines due to high altitude launch. Except as per picture, the engine firing clearly isn't any sort of vacuum engine More likely, its not an engine but a motor.
The baloon from the video also looks quite unstable... Spinning around all the time. I'd suggest adding thrusters for stabilization.
I'm really curious about the range availability for that thing... It seems to be very fragile, and you have no way of getting you rocket back if you decide to abort.
Pressure fed, lower development cost, more reliable than turbo. Lower efficiency is counted by using all engines and them being vacuum versions.
Sea launch means no expensive launch facility with restricted flight paths. Operate off small ship, which can sail with wind so balloon is launching in still air.