Author Topic: Airlaunch from CargoLifter airship?  (Read 1889 times)

Offline michaelwy

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Airlaunch from CargoLifter airship?
« on: 01/17/2012 07:40 AM »
I wonder whether there are any plans for a launch from an airship. I was thinking about one of those new large airships that have been proposed, such as the now abandoned CargoLifter. The CargoLifter was capable of carrying 160 tonnes. If a slightly larger version was built, huge payloads could be launched from extreme altitude. That is, if the CargoLifter project is feasible.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CargoLifter
« Last Edit: 01/17/2012 07:40 AM by michaelwy »

Online Paul Adams

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Re: Airlaunch from CargoLifter airship?
« Reply #1 on: 01/17/2012 08:44 AM »
Hello Michael,

The issue with airships is that the can really only fly at low altitudes, and relatively slowly, especially with large payloads. This is because they are essentially displacement vessels and the higher they go, the less dense the air, and so the less they can lift.

Great idea, and one I would personally love to see happen, but I don't think it would bring you enough (or any) benefit.

I wonder whether there are any plans for a launch from an airship. I was thinking about one of those new large airships that have been proposed, such as the now abandoned CargoLifter. The CargoLifter was capable of carrying 160 tonnes. If a slightly larger version was built, huge payloads could be launched from extreme altitude. That is, if the CargoLifter project is feasible.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CargoLifter
It's all in the data.

Offline michaelwy

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Re: Airlaunch from CargoLifter airship?
« Reply #2 on: 01/17/2012 08:50 AM »
Hello Michael,

The issue with airships is that the can really only fly at low altitudes, and relatively slowly, especially with large payloads. This is because they are essentially displacement vessels and the higher they go, the less dense the air, and so the less they can lift.

Great idea, and one I would personally love to see happen, but I don't think it would bring you enough (or any) benefit.

I wonder whether there are any plans for a launch from an airship. I was thinking about one of those new large airships that have been proposed, such as the now abandoned CargoLifter. The CargoLifter was capable of carrying 160 tonnes. If a slightly larger version was built, huge payloads could be launched from extreme altitude. That is, if the CargoLifter project is feasible.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CargoLifter

Well, i didn't know if it was possible. But, I guess we are seeing a sort of air launch today with the Branson & Allen schemes. Only with Airplanes in stead of airships.
« Last Edit: 01/17/2012 08:51 AM by michaelwy »

Offline colbourne

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Re: Airlaunch from CargoLifter airship?
« Reply #3 on: 01/17/2012 10:30 AM »
There was an interesting idea put forward for an airship that would be powered by electric thrusters and would slowly get in to orbit itself. I think this might have been multi-stage in some designs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_airship


I expect it would be impossible to make it work but the theory does make sense.

Online Paul Adams

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Re: Airlaunch from CargoLifter airship?
« Reply #4 on: 01/17/2012 11:15 AM »
Studies have been done. As someone who works in the LTA field and also has a passion for space flight, I would love to see it happen. Alas, I fear the practicalities would make the project too expensive.

Attached is a report that was done on an airship launched Pegasus.

Paul

Hello Michael,

The issue with airships is that the can really only fly at low altitudes, and relatively slowly, especially with large payloads. This is because they are essentially displacement vessels and the higher they go, the less dense the air, and so the less they can lift.

Great idea, and one I would personally love to see happen, but I don't think it would bring you enough (or any) benefit.

I wonder whether there are any plans for a launch from an airship. I was thinking about one of those new large airships that have been proposed, such as the now abandoned CargoLifter. The CargoLifter was capable of carrying 160 tonnes. If a slightly larger version was built, huge payloads could be launched from extreme altitude. That is, if the CargoLifter project is feasible.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CargoLifter

Well, i didn't know if it was possible. But, I guess we are seeing a sort of air launch today with the Branson & Allen schemes. Only with Airplanes in stead of airships.
It's all in the data.

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Airlaunch from CargoLifter airship?
« Reply #5 on: 01/18/2012 06:04 PM »
Studies have been done. As someone who works in the LTA field and also has a passion for space flight, I would love to see it happen. Alas, I fear the practicalities would make the project too expensive.

Attached is a report that was done on an airship launched Pegasus.

Paul

Thanks for that report I've heard people talks about LTA and space launch but never seen any real information on the subject.

At one point I recall a concept I'd heard mentioned (IIRC it was called the "Hoodoo Zephyer" or some such) where the SRBs on the Shuttle would be replaced by a huge LTA structure. Intial accelleration and velocity boost would have been similar but the LTA structure was really too large to be practical.

Another idea that has come up is the "SkyScraper" Very Light orbital vehicle found here:
http://tmp2.wikia.com/wiki/SkyScraper

Which suggests in part using the expansion of the lifting gas, (in this case hydrogen) to fuel additional accelleration engines. (Though I need to drop the author some notes on the difference and requirements for "SCRAMJET" propulsion as I think he's VERY confused between ramjet and scramjet :) )

At least the paper you posted address the drop-accelleration issue which has always been overlooked in other discussions I've seen.

I'll admit I personally don't see much application for LTA for Earth based launch operations but then again my eye is firmly on LTA for Venus or Gas Giant operations :)

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

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