Author Topic: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)  (Read 421054 times)

Offline francesco nicoli

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #920 on: 11/29/2015 11:38 AM »
I'm definetively not an expert, but with a 15 T payload, Couldn't skylon carry a weapon optimized for re-entry up to orbit, and release the warhead just above target?

Offline alexterrell

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #921 on: 11/29/2015 12:50 PM »
Couldn't skylon carry a weapon optimized for re-entry up to orbit, and release the warhead just above target?
In just the same way as any other launch vehicle could?

Yes. Russia, the USA, and a few other countries already have several thousand of these.

The ICBM killed off the strategic nuclear bomber 50 years ago. Skylon won't bring it back.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #922 on: 11/29/2015 05:45 PM »
I'm definetively not an expert, but with a 15 T payload, Couldn't skylon carry a weapon optimized for re-entry up to orbit, and release the warhead just above target?
True, but as others have pointed out it's a very expensive way to carry out this task and if you have the skills (and funding) to do it anyway you already have the means to carry much more cost effective forms of warfare.

I meant that it that it couldn't both be true the Skylon could be successful in providing point to point transport and at same time fail to provide the lowest priced orbital launch and that the logical conclusion of success at point to point transport is in the long term development of dedicated hypersonic air transport using the same Skylon derived technology which for the reasons stated means that it really can't be true that Sklyon derived systems could prove superior at revolutionising air travel but fail to be better at orbital launch than staged reusable rockets, i.e. the statement doesn't make any sense.

Yes I'd agree with that.  REL's focus has been orbital launch. It seems to believe they would succeed at something that was not their core focus, but fail at their core goal.

It could be true if Falcon ends up cheaper at a moderately high flight rate than Skylon does at a very high flight rate.  That doesn't seem especially likely to me, but we don't actually know yet...
Good point. But let's keep in mind the Skylon consortium will sell Skylons. It's up to the operators what the launch rate is
"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 Ravenger

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #923 on: 11/30/2015 11:13 AM »
I'm not sure if this has been posted, but I've not seen this video before:

Richard Varvil's lecture at DEVLOP3D conference in May 2015.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/41vVZWTw4hQ

Offline adrianwyard

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #924 on: 11/30/2015 05:55 PM »
This serves to remind us that as late as Q1 this year REL were still after $360M for their Phase 3.

Offline knowles2

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #925 on: 11/30/2015 09:04 PM »
I'm definetively not an expert, but with a 15 T payload, Couldn't skylon carry a weapon optimized for re-entry up to orbit, and release the warhead just above target?
True, but as others have pointed out it's a very expensive way to carry out this task and if you have the skills (and funding) to do it anyway you already have the means to carry much more cost effective forms of warfare.

I meant that it that it couldn't both be true the Skylon could be successful in providing point to point transport and at same time fail to provide the lowest priced orbital launch and that the logical conclusion of success at point to point transport is in the long term development of dedicated hypersonic air transport using the same Skylon derived technology which for the reasons stated means that it really can't be true that Sklyon derived systems could prove superior at revolutionising air travel but fail to be better at orbital launch than staged reusable rockets, i.e. the statement doesn't make any sense.

Yes I'd agree with that.  REL's focus has been orbital launch. It seems to believe they would succeed at something that was not their core focus, but fail at their core goal.

It could be true if Falcon ends up cheaper at a moderately high flight rate than Skylon does at a very high flight rate.  That doesn't seem especially likely to me, but we don't actually know yet...
Good point. But let's keep in mind the Skylon consortium will sell Skylons. It's up to the operators what the launch rate is

An if the Skylon operator is truly ruthless they will massively undercut SpaceX prices , drive them into bankruptcy and then raise their prices to cover the cost of launches and buying new Skylons.
It the ruthless, no prisoner approach to the space business.  Whether this is entirely possible depends on whether the US military would use such an skylon operator even if they are based in the US and under US management. We have seen the US military go the expensive option even where are cheaper ones available just so they could keep their friends in employment.

An wouldn't put it pass congress from banning Skylon from US airspace to protect US rocket manufacturers or banning Skylon operators from being able to bid on US military satellite contract either.
« Last Edit: 11/30/2015 09:09 PM by knowles2 »

Offline Khadgars

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #926 on: 11/30/2015 09:21 PM »
I'm definetively not an expert, but with a 15 T payload, Couldn't skylon carry a weapon optimized for re-entry up to orbit, and release the warhead just above target?
True, but as others have pointed out it's a very expensive way to carry out this task and if you have the skills (and funding) to do it anyway you already have the means to carry much more cost effective forms of warfare.

I meant that it that it couldn't both be true the Skylon could be successful in providing point to point transport and at same time fail to provide the lowest priced orbital launch and that the logical conclusion of success at point to point transport is in the long term development of dedicated hypersonic air transport using the same Skylon derived technology which for the reasons stated means that it really can't be true that Sklyon derived systems could prove superior at revolutionising air travel but fail to be better at orbital launch than staged reusable rockets, i.e. the statement doesn't make any sense.

Yes I'd agree with that.  REL's focus has been orbital launch. It seems to believe they would succeed at something that was not their core focus, but fail at their core goal.

It could be true if Falcon ends up cheaper at a moderately high flight rate than Skylon does at a very high flight rate.  That doesn't seem especially likely to me, but we don't actually know yet...
Good point. But let's keep in mind the Skylon consortium will sell Skylons. It's up to the operators what the launch rate is

An if the Skylon operator is truly ruthless they will massively undercut SpaceX prices , drive them into bankruptcy and then raise their prices to cover the cost of launches and buying new Skylons.
It the ruthless, no prisoner approach to the space business.  Whether this is entirely possible depends on whether the US military would use such an skylon operator even if they are based in the US and under US management. We have seen the US military go the expensive option even where are cheaper ones available just so they could keep their friends in employment.

An wouldn't put it pass congress from banning Skylon from US airspace to protect US rocket manufacturers or banning Skylon operators from being able to bid on US military satellite contract either.

Talking about decimating SpaceX? Skylon is over a decade away from being operational, if it even flies at all.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #927 on: 12/01/2015 12:04 AM »
Talking about decimating SpaceX? Skylon is over a decade away from being operational, if it even flies at all.
You need to keep in mind a couple of things about this scenario.

The F9 Semi Reusable is not an Apples to Apples comparison with Skylon in terms of payload, flexibility or recurring costs.

The BFR which is meant to be the fully reusable SX LV  is also realistically at least a decade away as well. It took SX 4 years to get to go from zero to a gas generator engine, which have powered 20-40 ELVs and ICBM's over the years.

However there are no full flow ORSC engine in the West to study. There is no SP8000 volume dedicated to them. SX will will be starting a lot  further back on the development path. Making it VTVL (even with the improved Isp of ORSC) will still make it a very structurally demanding task.

No one has ever done a full VTO upper stage return from orbit, while Shuttle demonstrated a roughly airplane shaped vehicle that returned from orbit 134 times. Currently SX still has not demonstrated a booster stage landing.

I'll also point out the the aircraft design flow has been executed thousands of times over last century, rather than the few 10s of ELV's or ICBM's or the 2 cycles of STS and Buran.

Skylon looks very different to what people thing of when they think of "space launch vehicle" but in many ways it's the conservative lower risk option if SABRE delivers its performance targets.

It just won't make a very good nuclear weapons delivery system.

I don't think most people would find that too big a flaw.
« Last Edit: 12/01/2015 12:24 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.

Online RonM

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #928 on: 12/01/2015 04:01 AM »
Couldn't skylon carry a weapon optimized for re-entry up to orbit, and release the warhead just above target?
In just the same way as any other launch vehicle could?

Yes. Russia, the USA, and a few other countries already have several thousand of these.

The ICBM killed off the strategic nuclear bomber 50 years ago. Skylon won't bring it back.

While I agree Skylon would not be used as a bomber, we have to get our facts straight. ICBMs did not kill off the strategic nuclear bomber 50 years ago. Russia and the US still have strategic bombers today that carry nuclear weapons.

Offline adrianwyard

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #929 on: 12/01/2015 04:21 AM »
New article on Skylon.

Interestingly, Mark Thomas emphasizes that the SABRE engine is highly scalable, and continues the trend of inviting the press to talk about vehicle concepts in addition to Skylon...

Quote
“This is a really versatile propulsion system that we’re developing. It is an air-breathing rocket engine that can go from zero to five times the speed of sound and for the space-access variant, 25 times the speed of sound, and has a huge range of operation. The other advantage of this engine is that it’s highly scaleable.”
The ability to up or down-size the concept is undoubtedly a trump card.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/industry/engineering/12023867/British-technology-company-to-transform-air-and-space-travel-with-pioneering-new-engine-design.html

Offline flymetothemoon

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #930 on: 12/01/2015 12:41 PM »
New article on Skylon.

Interestingly, Mark Thomas emphasizes that the SABRE engine is highly scalable, and continues the trend of inviting the press to talk about vehicle concepts in addition to Skylon...

Quote
“This is a really versatile propulsion system that we’re developing. It is an air-breathing rocket engine that can go from zero to five times the speed of sound and for the space-access variant, 25 times the speed of sound, and has a huge range of operation. The other advantage of this engine is that it’s highly scaleable.”
The ability to up or down-size the concept is undoubtedly a trump card.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/industry/engineering/12023867/British-technology-company-to-transform-air-and-space-travel-with-pioneering-new-engine-design.html

"“We don’t see anybody working on anything like Sabre. To do something with a single propulsion system is the dream ticket. "

...."except the Chinese. The Chinese don't have to worry about 'the market' for it and are already showing interest. So if we don't bloody get on with it they will kick our butts, like they are going to with everything else.", he should have added.

Offline francesco nicoli

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #931 on: 12/01/2015 01:09 PM »
I'm definetively not an expert, but with a 15 T payload, Couldn't skylon carry a weapon optimized for re-entry up to orbit, and release the warhead just above target?
True, but as others have pointed out it's a very expensive way to carry out this task and if you have the skills (and funding) to do it anyway you already have the means to carry much more cost effective forms of warfare.

I meant that it that it couldn't both be true the Skylon could be successful in providing point to point transport and at same time fail to provide the lowest priced orbital launch and that the logical conclusion of success at point to point transport is in the long term development of dedicated hypersonic air transport using the same Skylon derived technology which for the reasons stated means that it really can't be true that Sklyon derived systems could prove superior at revolutionising air travel but fail to be better at orbital launch than staged reusable rockets, i.e. the statement doesn't make any sense.

Yes I'd agree with that.  REL's focus has been orbital launch. It seems to believe they would succeed at something that was not their core focus, but fail at their core goal.

It could be true if Falcon ends up cheaper at a moderately high flight rate than Skylon does at a very high flight rate.  That doesn't seem especially likely to me, but we don't actually know yet...
Good point. But let's keep in mind the Skylon consortium will sell Skylons. It's up to the operators what the launch rate is

An if the Skylon operator is truly ruthless they will massively undercut SpaceX prices , drive them into bankruptcy and then raise their prices to cover the cost of launches and buying new Skylons.
It the ruthless, no prisoner approach to the space business.  Whether this is entirely possible depends on whether the US military would use such an skylon operator even if they are based in the US and under US management. We have seen the US military go the expensive option even where are cheaper ones available just so they could keep their friends in employment.

An wouldn't put it pass congress from banning Skylon from US airspace to protect US rocket manufacturers or banning Skylon operators from being able to bid on US military satellite contract either.

I don't see neither thing happening, for various reasons.
1. there won't be a skylon operator. there will be skylon operatorS, which means that- once the price is down- it will stay down as an effect of competition.
2. if SpaceX is only a service provider for LEO, in the very long run either they will develop something competitive, or they will by a skylon themselves.
3. if SpaceX will think itself as producer and vendor of exploration vassels, they will buy a Skylon and use it to assemble any deep space vehicle they'd like to sell/use.

In sum, I see no reason why SpaceX should disappear, and why US should ban Skylons. as the most space-advanced nation in the globe, as well as the nation with highest security concerns on space in the globe, they will be those profiting more of cheap access. Rather than banning Skylons from US, they will attempt to prevent unfriendly countries from acquiring them!

Offline knowles2

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #932 on: 12/01/2015 01:39 PM »
I'm definetively not an expert, but with a 15 T payload, Couldn't skylon carry a weapon optimized for re-entry up to orbit, and release the warhead just above target?
True, but as others have pointed out it's a very expensive way to carry out this task and if you have the skills (and funding) to do it anyway you already have the means to carry much more cost effective forms of warfare.

I meant that it that it couldn't both be true the Skylon could be successful in providing point to point transport and at same time fail to provide the lowest priced orbital launch and that the logical conclusion of success at point to point transport is in the long term development of dedicated hypersonic air transport using the same Skylon derived technology which for the reasons stated means that it really can't be true that Sklyon derived systems could prove superior at revolutionising air travel but fail to be better at orbital launch than staged reusable rockets, i.e. the statement doesn't make any sense.

Yes I'd agree with that.  REL's focus has been orbital launch. It seems to believe they would succeed at something that was not their core focus, but fail at their core goal.

It could be true if Falcon ends up cheaper at a moderately high flight rate than Skylon does at a very high flight rate.  That doesn't seem especially likely to me, but we don't actually know yet...
Good point. But let's keep in mind the Skylon consortium will sell Skylons. It's up to the operators what the launch rate is

An if the Skylon operator is truly ruthless they will massively undercut SpaceX prices , drive them into bankruptcy and then raise their prices to cover the cost of launches and buying new Skylons.
It the ruthless, no prisoner approach to the space business.  Whether this is entirely possible depends on whether the US military would use such an skylon operator even if they are based in the US and under US management. We have seen the US military go the expensive option even where are cheaper ones available just so they could keep their friends in employment.

An wouldn't put it pass congress from banning Skylon from US airspace to protect US rocket manufacturers or banning Skylon operators from being able to bid on US military satellite contract either.

Talking about decimating SpaceX? Skylon is over a decade away from being operational, if it even flies at all.
Any investor in SpaceX should be looking at the decade long outlook because that how long it will take for them to get any money back.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #933 on: 12/01/2015 02:52 PM »
While I agree Skylon would not be used as a bomber, we have to get our facts straight. ICBMs did not kill off the strategic nuclear bomber 50 years ago. Russia and the US still have strategic bombers today that carry nuclear weapons.
Then the question would then be how many current B52 and B2 missions are flying nuclear weapons?

My guess is few or none, just as the USN stopped carriers carrying nuclear bombs
"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 #934 on: 12/01/2015 02:59 PM »
Rather than banning Skylons from US, they will attempt to prevent unfriendly countries from acquiring them!
In reality this would be done by REL planned sales policy anyway.

The trouble is US control means the end of any sort of potential free market, given their obsession with technology control (which drove India to develop it's own LH2 upper stage and other failures of the policy).

REL indicate Skylon can operate from anywhere in the world. To get the kind of market were space launch becomes a commodity there have to be multiple customers.

Assuming Skylon works and Musk is a pragmatist I would expect him to buy a pair, short cut all the R&D and move straight to building his Mars transport, built around the ability to deliver to orbit on demand.

The downside is Skylon threatens the F9 revenue stream in several ways.

Why gamble on a launcher that can deliver 13 tonnes to orbit with design having a (demonstrated) 1 in 19 failure rate when you could have 15 tonnes on a vehicle that's already demonstrated however many flights (5? 20? 100?) that vehicle has already done.

My real concern for the SABRESkylon concept remains how you can collect expressions of interest in the project in a form that is legally binding, can be transferred to the mfg consortium and can be shown to funding organizations as a potential revenue stream. Solve that problem and large scale funding (and interest in joining a consortium) becomes much higher.

BTW The Channel Tunnel is operated by Eurotunnel. The actual "manufacturer" was the "Trans Marche Link" consortium

Any discussion around using the Tunnel as a model for how Skylon could develop should look at wheather TML made a profit (AFAIK they did) since they would be the equivalent of (to coin a name) "Skylon Enterprises Ltd."
« Last Edit: 12/01/2015 03:01 PM 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 Star One

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #935 on: 12/01/2015 03:06 PM »

While I agree Skylon would not be used as a bomber, we have to get our facts straight. ICBMs did not kill off the strategic nuclear bomber 50 years ago. Russia and the US still have strategic bombers today that carry nuclear weapons.
Then the question would then be how many current B52 and B2 missions are flying nuclear weapons?

My guess is few or none, just as the USN stopped carriers carrying nuclear bombs

How would anyone know as such information is no doubt classified so I don't see the point of asking.

Offline francesco nicoli

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #936 on: 12/01/2015 07:12 PM »

Offline lkm

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #937 on: 12/01/2015 08:42 PM »
Skylon's biggest market potential is point-to-point transport. I know that's not how it's designed, but it dwarfs the orbital launch market (which they're probably going to lose to the likes of SpaceX and Blue Origin anyway).
Do not forget the potential market for point to point delivery of 200lb warheads. While it might be nice to imagine investors looking towards space, I'm sure investors BAE is looking at Skylon and thinking 'mach 5 cruise missile' or '150,000ft bomber'. If the engine works, and can be made to work on something a little more practical, like methane (which it supposedly can) then that is something they can sell to a lot of customers, whether the space business works out or not.

The Skylon C1 users manual had a suborbital deployment mode which could carry 30mt payloads and a while back in the thread I made the suggestion that the USAF could use that for delivering a bunch of their new High Speed Strike Weapons to  high mach removing the need for them to have rocket boosters, but apparently for Skylon D1 REL haven't worked out the rentry for that and the payload bay is no longer rated for that heavy a payload. But at those speeds a Skylon derived vehicle could delivery none ballistic munitions without every having to enter contested airspace.

If the engine works, and can be made to work on something a little more practical, like methane (which it supposedly can)
Do you have a source for that? To the best of my knowledge the cryogenic aspect is an essential part of the design, both as a form of stored energy (in addition to the calorific value) and as a heat sink


I modelled this stuff little a while back, if you're just interested in this as a hypersonic aircraft engine then I think you can run a Scimitar like engine ( i.e. 1:3 fuel air ratio) on a 40/60 methane/ammonia mix, which gives you a much denser fuel, but the performance drop kills SSTO and you are dealing with a gelled fuel.

New article on Skylon.

Interestingly, Mark Thomas emphasizes that the SABRE engine is highly scalable, and continues the trend of inviting the press to talk about vehicle concepts in addition to Skylon...

Quote
“This is a really versatile propulsion system that we’re developing. It is an air-breathing rocket engine that can go from zero to five times the speed of sound and for the space-access variant, 25 times the speed of sound, and has a huge range of operation. The other advantage of this engine is that it’s highly scaleable.”
The ability to up or down-size the concept is undoubtedly a trump card.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/industry/engineering/12023867/British-technology-company-to-transform-air-and-space-travel-with-pioneering-new-engine-design.html

It's interesting how Mark Thomas sounds almost like an enthusiastic commenter on this thread. I think to an extent as the former head of future programmes at Rolls Royce he's intimately aware of what RR has in development and with that in mind having come in to take charge of a company with a laser focus on space launch he's especially aware of the much broader capabilities of the technology.

Offline 93143

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #938 on: 12/01/2015 09:41 PM »
by the way, Reuters had a story on Skylon as well yesterday

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/30/us-rocket-engine-space-plane-idUSKBN0TJ19U20151130

Quote
60 million pounds ($.4 million USD)
Quote
up to 20 times the speed of sound if it's going into orbit
Quote
high-vacuum braise

Offline Asteroza

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Re: The Reaction Engines Skylon Master Thread (5)
« Reply #939 on: 12/01/2015 10:55 PM »
New article on Skylon.

Interestingly, Mark Thomas emphasizes that the SABRE engine is highly scalable, and continues the trend of inviting the press to talk about vehicle concepts in addition to Skylon...

Quote
“This is a really versatile propulsion system that we’re developing. It is an air-breathing rocket engine that can go from zero to five times the speed of sound and for the space-access variant, 25 times the speed of sound, and has a huge range of operation. The other advantage of this engine is that it’s highly scaleable.”
The ability to up or down-size the concept is undoubtedly a trump card.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/industry/engineering/12023867/British-technology-company-to-transform-air-and-space-travel-with-pioneering-new-engine-design.html

Scalable in what ways though?

REL is avoiding a subscale demonstrator due to fears of scaling effects for a full size Skylon. Does that imply a 1 MT payload small-Skylon is impractical, or simply undesired?

Skylon already needs a pretty hefty but otherwise conventional runway, so going larger seems possible but difficult. How would one implement a bigger Skylon? At some point would you need dedicated infrastructure for launch in some manner? Say, landing gear is rated for ferry MGTOW but not orbital mission MGTOW, so some sort of launch trolley/hovercraft assistively supporting the weight at the landing gear frame roots...

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