Author Topic: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)  (Read 442750 times)

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1160 on: 01/13/2016 12:33 PM »
That's reasonable but I'm very weary of why BAe wanted "preferred supplier" status on some systems, and what they are.
{snip}

BAE Systems were makers of airframes where as Reaction Engines are engine makers. There is an obvious match there. Rolls Royce produce aircraft engines but do not produce entire aircraft. BAE Systems could also supply the avionics.

Offline t43562

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1161 on: 01/13/2016 01:16 PM »
Taranis seems impressive (given what little's been released about it) and just 28% over budget.
I don't think that's particularly good by commercial funding standards.

The whole point of military projects is to make the less known and less predictable stuff known and predictable for commercial projects. Hence why it's important to snaffle someone who has been through it and has the experience to do it better or at least more predictably next time.

Watchkeeper is a Thales project BTW, not BAE.

What projects other than Taranis and Watchkeeper have their been in the UK? Which of those is most relevant? I suggest Taranis because it seems to be a much more complicated vehicle with unusual propulsion and control problems and an ultimately more ambitious direction.  It's also a sort of culmination of other work, not very glamorous stuff but indicative that BAE have not appeared in unmanned aviation totally out of the blue. New aircraft projects don't seem to be very common in the UK - I'd have imagined that getting people who have that experience is exceedingly valuable.



Offline francesco nicoli

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1162 on: 01/13/2016 01:19 PM »
SpaceNews Reports that the European Commission intends to develop a European reusable rocket, the decision to be made by 2020 in order to get funding in the 2021-2028 budget. No citation of Skylon, but lot of worries in traditional EU space circles reported.

Offline Oli

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1163 on: 01/13/2016 03:45 PM »
No citation of Skylon, but lot of worries in traditional EU space circles reported.

Nope, worries among EU politicians reported.

Offline adrianwyard

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1164 on: 01/13/2016 04:40 PM »
... I think it's pretty clear that a takeoff or landing from a floating runway (pretty much the worst case scenario) is never going to happen outside a Bond movie.   :)

It's essentially OT, but why are you so skeptical about autoland? Perhaps you know something about things like X-47B carrier landing tests that we don't? I'm more cautious than most about automated landing (especially vertical landings in wind/wind-shear) but SpaceX and Blue are on the way to convincing me that control systems are getting pretty darn good.

For Skylon, we can guess that they'll be cautious about not landing in problematic weather, just as happened with the Shuttle.

« Last Edit: 01/13/2016 04:41 PM by adrianwyard »

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1165 on: 01/13/2016 04:54 PM »
It's essentially OT, but why are you so skeptical about autoland?
I'm not. Try to read what I wrote. Then compare the size of Skylon with any of the UAV's that have demonstrated a carrier deck landing.

Now consider how big that carrier would have to be to accommodate a Skylon.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline adrianwyard

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1166 on: 01/13/2016 05:16 PM »
It's essentially OT, but why are you so skeptical about autoland?
I'm not. Try to read what I wrote. Then compare the size of Skylon with any of the UAV's that have demonstrated a carrier deck landing.

Now consider how big that carrier would have to be to accommodate a Skylon.

Fun fact: you seem to read all question directed to you as if they're trying make you sound foolish. Its not the case. You seem to be privy to some hard-to-find information, and I wondered if you could tell me something I didn't know. I could well believe the X-47B tests exposed challenges that are not widely known.

And when you suggest we don't have the necessary reading comprehension skills to interact with you, guess how that sounds.

And why on earth are we talking about landing Skylon on a carrier? Let's move on.

Offline Archibald

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1167 on: 01/13/2016 06:56 PM »
Bring back project habakkuk 
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Habakkuk

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1168 on: 01/13/2016 09:54 PM »
Fun fact: you seem to read all question directed to you as if they're trying make you sound foolish. Its not the case.
No. In this case I think the question makes the questioner sound foolish, although I'll admit I'm assuming English is a first language for you. If not it might have made more sense to you in your native language.
Quote
You seem to be privy to some hard-to-find information, and I wondered if you could tell me something I didn't know. I could well believe the X-47B tests exposed challenges that are not widely known.
No idea. AFIK they went pretty well. A bit too well in fact for senior Naval officers who would like to feel that only "Naval Aviators" have the skills to do carrier landings.
The point I was trying to make, which you don't seem to understand, is carrier landings are a known hard task for UAV's. My point is "so what?" The so what is due to the fact no Skylon is going to do a carrier landing. 
Quote
And why on earth are we talking about landing Skylon on a carrier? Let's move on.
Certainly
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline adrianwyard

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1169 on: 01/13/2016 10:33 PM »
Here's what I heard you say: 1] Autoland is easy 2] apart from carrier landings, which only happen in Bond movies 4] even though carrier landings - a known hard case - have been demonstrated successfully, but 5] it's a waste of time talking about the difficulty of landing UAV's on carriers because Skylon won't land on one.

...I'm certainly a fool for wasting my time in this thread.

Despite the bizarre tangents, everyone seems to agree the pilotless aspect of Skylon is not a big deal.
« Last Edit: 01/13/2016 10:35 PM by adrianwyard »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1170 on: 01/14/2016 02:39 AM »
SpaceNews Reports that the European Commission intends to develop a European reusable rocket, the decision to be made by 2020 in order to get funding in the 2021-2028 budget. No citation of Skylon, but lot of worries in traditional EU space circles reported.
Very good news, but 2020??? "After we've lost all of our commercial payloads to SpaceX and maybe ULA and Blue Origin, we'll decide to develop a reusable rocket."

Anyway, please link when reporting a news item or really any new information!
Because what I do see does not seem to be exactly what you claim:
http://spacenews.com/brunet-european-commission-should-have-hand-in-designing-next-gen-rocket/
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1171 on: 01/14/2016 08:47 AM »
Very good news, but 2020??? "After we've lost all of our commercial payloads to SpaceX and maybe ULA and Blue Origin, we'll decide to develop a reusable rocket."

Anyway, please link when reporting a news item or really any new information!
Because what I do see does not seem to be exactly what you claim:
http://spacenews.com/brunet-european-commission-should-have-hand-in-designing-next-gen-rocket/
You're right.

It's interesting that the EU has spent several years giving the ELV design teams greater autonomy to say "This is what we think will work."

That got the all solid A6 design.

I think non Europeans have real trouble understanding how the ELV design process works. In particular

EU <> EU Parliament <>EU Commission <> ESA <> CNES <> Arianspace.

They are all distinct industrial and governmental organizations.  I'm not quite sure how Brunet thinks the EU Commission can or should have a say as ESA (IIRC) comes under the Council of Ministers of the EU member countries.

The problem from REL's PoV is how to get more buy in from the European aerospace sector IE Airbus, thus making a better case for something like the European Investment Bank to become involved.  :( Like wise it would be interesting to see what investment the UK government could make without exceeding the EU national subsidy rules (Yes the UKG investment was looked at by the EU. An interesting question would be how much bigger it could have been before it was felt to be introducing "market distortion.")

I still find it ironic that one of the  biggest winners for a full scale Skylon project would be the French, who will supply the skin material, a fact the French government seems completely unaware of.
« Last Edit: 01/14/2016 08:50 AM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1172 on: 01/14/2016 08:47 AM »
2] apart from carrier landings, which only happen in Bond movies
And that's where your comprehension fails.   :(
A carrier landing of a Skylon is a plot device for a Bond movie. An X47b is 11m long. A Skylon is 82m. You'd probably need to use a couple of bulk ore carriers as pontoons for the deck.

IRL I expect the USN will face increasing pressure to start basing UAV's on carriers as they can no longer claim UAV's can't do carrier landings.

All posters are responsible for what they post. None are responsible for what readers read.
Quote
Despite the bizarre tangents, everyone seems to agree the pilotless aspect of Skylon is not a big deal.
True.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline francesco nicoli

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1173 on: 01/14/2016 11:26 AM »


In particular

EU <> EU Parliament <>EU Commission <> ESA <> CNES <> Arianspace.

They are all distinct industrial and governmental organizations.  I'm not quite sure how Brunet thinks the EU Commission can or should have a say as ESA (IIRC) comes under the Council of Ministers of the EU member countries.




well, rather: EU>> EU Parliament, Commission, Council of the EU (ministers), European Council
ESA: Council of ministers of ESA members (not EU members)

The rationale for EU to mess with ESA is precisely that, as they are their main customer, they now want to have a say.

Offline Asteroza

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1174 on: 01/14/2016 11:52 PM »
Floating runway...


I wonder if the cost of the runway/spaceport might be mitigated if it were a MegaFloat style linked barge runway in a suitable harbor or lagoon area. Runway construction would then be simply serial production of barge segements and towing to a perpared mooring area. The barges themselves could be made of hollow concrete (simple compartments and/or cellular glass spheres in the aggregate like a syntactic foam) to increase their lifetimes in a marine environment. This would basically mean any island, reef lagoon, or eastward facing coastal harbor could become a skylon spaceport (and by extension gain a local cargo airport).

The japanese MegaFloat floating runway demo used steel barges with link spans, and there are noises the japanese government will fund a new MegaFloat demo for an offshore helicopter base to service offshore oil rigs (to increase helicopter range). Concrete ships/barges were made in WWII, and sometimes manufactured now for floating houses as their base, and now can utilize basalt fiber rather than steel rebar to improve corrosion resistance. US Navy studied the MOB (mobile offshore base) design, which was typically a set of three to five semisubmersible rigs linked together to make a megacarrier. There is an interesting design called the pressure stabilized platform (PSP) that use bottom open hollow cylinders as the base block of a platform barge, which was seriously proposed for use in a replacement for San Diego airport as an offshore airport and as an offshore cargo inspection/transshipment facility for DHS.

Offline Paul451

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1175 on: 01/15/2016 03:38 AM »
Not sure why the thread has gone this far astray, but... when in Rome...

Floating runway...
I wonder if the cost of the runway/spaceport might be mitigated if it were a [...] japanese MegaFloat floating runway [] used steel barges with link spans

If we're going to these extremes, why not go whole hog and use an Ekranoplan aircraft carrier?



The approach speed can be high subsonic, rather than the typical slower runway speed. That might make the design a little easier.

The Skylon can land short/long, too fast, too slow, because the "runway" stays under it regardless, with effectively unlimited "run out". The Skylon auto-pilot just needs to hit the top of the approach box (to rendezvous with the carrier), and then focus on staying on heading as it descends; the carrier will adjust to always remain underneath. Take-off obviously works the same, high take-off speed, unlimited "runway"; with the bonus that the fuel to get up to high-subsonic is provided by the carrier.

And once the Skylon has landed, the carrier itself can land in the water and then cruise into dock at any suitable harbour. Or even just meet up with a supply ship and have a new payload (and fuel) loaded onto the Skylon right there for immediate relaunch. (The carrier can also be used as a transport vehicle, moving your takeoff site to anywhere in the world.)

The carrier in the image has a pseudo runway, but since touchdown occurs with zero relative velocity, there's no reason not to use skids or footpads, which tend to be much lighter than full wheeled landing gear. Possibly even use a cradle on the carrier and eliminate the landing gear entirely. (The missile batteries are probably also unnecessary. Probably.)

Offline Lampyridae

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1176 on: 01/15/2016 06:06 AM »
Not sure why the thread has gone this far astray, but... when in Rome...

Floating runway...
I wonder if the cost of the runway/spaceport might be mitigated if it were a [...] japanese MegaFloat floating runway [] used steel barges with link spans

If we're going to these extremes, why not go whole hog and use an Ekranoplan aircraft carrier?



The approach speed can be high subsonic, rather than the typical slower runway speed. That might make the design a little easier.

The Skylon can land short/long, too fast, too slow, because the "runway" stays under it regardless, with effectively unlimited "run out". The Skylon auto-pilot just needs to hit the top of the approach box (to rendezvous with the carrier), and then focus on staying on heading as it descends; the carrier will adjust to always remain underneath. Take-off obviously works the same, high take-off speed, unlimited "runway"; with the bonus that the fuel to get up to high-subsonic is provided by the carrier.

And once the Skylon has landed, the carrier itself can land in the water and then cruise into dock at any suitable harbour. Or even just meet up with a supply ship and have a new payload (and fuel) loaded onto the Skylon right there for immediate relaunch. (The carrier can also be used as a transport vehicle, moving your takeoff site to anywhere in the world.)

The carrier in the image has a pseudo runway, but since touchdown occurs with zero relative velocity, there's no reason not to use skids or footpads, which tend to be much lighter than full wheeled landing gear. Possibly even use a cradle on the carrier and eliminate the landing gear entirely. (The missile batteries are probably also unnecessary. Probably.)

All good Bond movies end with rapid unplanned disassembly... I can see this happening :)

I wonder what Musk will call it. The SHS It's Just Part Of The Software Development Process?
SKYLON... The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen's preferred surface-to-orbit conveyance.

Offline t43562

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1177 on: 01/15/2016 06:41 AM »
An article about TISICS whose job it will be to make the titanium composite struts (thanks to Jamie Rowland for sending me this link).

http://www.geektime.com/2016/01/14/this-uk-startup-is-building-a-new-kind-of-space-age-metal/

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1178 on: 01/15/2016 09:07 AM »
Floating runway...

To be clear.

My point was that that a Skylon takeoff or landing on a floating runway is a plot device for an action thriller.

IRL it's a stupid idea that adds enormous amounts of complexity and risk to a system that has enough risk to go around already.  :(

However  for more normal sized aircraft and UAVs (EG the F35 or X47b, or European, Russian, Chinese or Indian equivalents) I believe automated carrier landings will become routine within the next 10 years.

IIRC bad carrier landings and takeoffs generate significant numbers of repairs that take those vehicles off the flight line for fairly long periods.  Modern aerial vehicles are basically FBW or FBL and getting more expensive.  The pragmatic solution is add (possibly) a few sensors and a new software module (all these vehicles are designed to support S/W upgrades anyway) to handle this.

I do like wing-in-ground-effect vehicles and the old "Caspian Sea Monster" has to be the Daddy of these (another piece of tech suitable for a Bond villain. I wonder if anyone of the still exists, and if so can they still fly?) but definitely OT.  I will note the core problem of them seemed to be the huge fuel load it burned getting to cruising conditions, IIRC due to the huge thrust needed to start it moving.

Fix that and I think you have quite an attractive high mass, high volume, high(ish) speed freight vehicle that is not stopped by any obstacle less than about 200m high, but that won't be easy.  :(

Sadly while an Ekranoplane might make a "moving landing strip" for a Skylon it won't allow replacing the landing gear with pads. A rolling takeoff is a key part of Skylon ConOps and REL have done a lot ow work to confirm a landing gear mass of 1.5% of Gross Landing Weight (the usual for large commercial aircraft is about 4% but the B58 did 1.5%) is viable.

While definitely an "Advance Concept" this is OT for this thread.
 
« Last Edit: 01/15/2016 09:11 AM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #1179 on: 01/15/2016 11:11 AM »
An article about TISICS whose job it will be to make the titanium composite struts (thanks to Jamie Rowland for sending me this link).

http://www.geektime.com/2016/01/14/this-uk-startup-is-building-a-new-kind-of-space-age-metal/
I've read the article. It doesn't really add much to what we know of them, although being an MBO fo Quintiq is interesting.

Unlike a lot  of companies in this area they seem to have ambitions of moving "downstream" into the mfg of the parts as well, which is going to be needed.

I hope they continue to prosper.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

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