Author Topic: Virgin Galactic & Boeing Suborbital P2P Plane  (Read 5606 times)

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Virgin Galactic & Boeing Suborbital P2P Plane
« on: 10/17/2019 12:05 pm »
When Boeing recently announced taking a stake in VG there was mention of developing future vehicles.

Now this:

https://twitter.com/davemosher/status/1184785506107830272

Quote
Virgin Galactic, Boeing expect to finish design for point-to-point suborbital plane over the next few months @richardbranson tells @AviationWeek. Boeing's $20M investment in @virgingalactic pending Galactic's merger to become publicly traded company, awin.aviationweek.com

Of course VG going public, and Boeing taking a stake, isn’t yet a done deal.

Online meekGee

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Re: Virgin Galactic & Boeing Suborbital P2P Plane
« Reply #1 on: 10/18/2019 02:17 am »
This says a lot more about Boeing than it does about VG...

But actually not even that, since a venture capital operation owned by Boeing is in reality just a venture capital operation.  These kind if things tend to have a charter and operate pretty much independently of the parent.

VG will continue on their trajectory, they don't seem to have a motivated competitor.

They don't have any launch system with a path to the energies needed for long range manned supersonic travel. Their airframe is irrelevant as well, and $20M won't get them either of these.
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Offline ncb1397

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Re: Virgin Galactic & Boeing Suborbital P2P Plane
« Reply #2 on: 10/18/2019 02:32 am »
This says a lot more about Boeing than it does about VG...

But actually not even that, since a venture capital operation owned by Boeing is in reality just a venture capital operation.  These kind if things tend to have a charter and operate pretty much independently of the parent.

VG will continue on their trajectory, they don't seem to have a motivated competitor.

They don't have any launch system with a path to the energies needed for long range manned supersonic travel. Their airframe is irrelevant as well, and $20M won't get them either of these.

Well, they have experience with composite airframe construction, a kerosene engine in a sister company nearly as powerful as the first iterations of merlin, experience with rocket powered human space planes up to mach 3+. So, I would say they have a path to the requirements of p2p rocket powered flight (their current system probably could fly a couple hundred miles as a boost glide vehicle). They also have experience with air breathing aircraft which this would likely be a hybrid system similar to plans for Buran.

Online meekGee

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Re: Virgin Galactic & Boeing Suborbital P2P Plane
« Reply #3 on: 10/18/2019 02:42 am »
This says a lot more about Boeing than it does about VG...

But actually not even that, since a venture capital operation owned by Boeing is in reality just a venture capital operation.  These kind if things tend to have a charter and operate pretty much independently of the parent.

VG will continue on their trajectory, they don't seem to have a motivated competitor.

They don't have any launch system with a path to the energies needed for long range manned supersonic travel. Their airframe is irrelevant as well, and $20M won't get them either of these.

Well, they have experience with composite airframe construction, a kerosene engine in a sister company nearly as powerful as the first iterations of merlin, experience with rocket powered human space planes up to mach 3+. So, I would say they have a path to the requirements of p2p rocket powered flight (their current system probably could fly a couple hundred miles as a boost glide vehicle). They also have experience with air breathing aircraft which this would likely be a hybrid system similar to plans for Buran.
You can put the words together, but they don't make a convincing argument.

SpaceShipTwo goes 80 km up, I don't think it can go even 80 km downrange...  And it takes longer to get to altitude than it takes to fly 80 km...

SpaceShipTwo is exactly the opposite of what F1 was in terms of how they may or may not lead to an orbital vehicle...

And even F9 is not the kind of system required for long range p2p.  You need something like StarShip.  Good luck getting that out of VG.
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Offline ncb1397

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Re: Virgin Galactic & Boeing Suborbital P2P Plane
« Reply #4 on: 10/18/2019 02:51 am »
This says a lot more about Boeing than it does about VG...

But actually not even that, since a venture capital operation owned by Boeing is in reality just a venture capital operation.  These kind if things tend to have a charter and operate pretty much independently of the parent.

VG will continue on their trajectory, they don't seem to have a motivated competitor.

They don't have any launch system with a path to the energies needed for long range manned supersonic travel. Their airframe is irrelevant as well, and $20M won't get them either of these.

Well, they have experience with composite airframe construction, a kerosene engine in a sister company nearly as powerful as the first iterations of merlin, experience with rocket powered human space planes up to mach 3+. So, I would say they have a path to the requirements of p2p rocket powered flight (their current system probably could fly a couple hundred miles as a boost glide vehicle). They also have experience with air breathing aircraft which this would likely be a hybrid system similar to plans for Buran.
You can put the words together, but they don't make a convincing argument.

SpaceShipTwo goes 80 km up, I don't think it can go even 80 km downrange...  And it takes longer to get to altitude than it takes to fly 80 km...

SpaceShipTwo is exactly the opposite of what F1 was in terms of how they may or may not lead to an orbital vehicle...

And even F9 is not the kind of system required for long range p2p.  You need something like StarShip.  Good luck getting that out of VG.

No, it would go significantly farther than 80 km. A bowling ball in vacuum accelerated to the spaceshiptwo top speed from ground level would fly 125 km. A winged vehicle would go significantly farther in an atmosphere.

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Re: Virgin Galactic & Boeing Suborbital P2P Plane
« Reply #5 on: 10/18/2019 02:59 am »
This says a lot more about Boeing than it does about VG...

But actually not even that, since a venture capital operation owned by Boeing is in reality just a venture capital operation.  These kind if things tend to have a charter and operate pretty much independently of the parent.

VG will continue on their trajectory, they don't seem to have a motivated competitor.

They don't have any launch system with a path to the energies needed for long range manned supersonic travel. Their airframe is irrelevant as well, and $20M won't get them either of these.

Well, they have experience with composite airframe construction, a kerosene engine in a sister company nearly as powerful as the first iterations of merlin, experience with rocket powered human space planes up to mach 3+. So, I would say they have a path to the requirements of p2p rocket powered flight (their current system probably could fly a couple hundred miles as a boost glide vehicle). They also have experience with air breathing aircraft which this would likely be a hybrid system similar to plans for Buran.
You can put the words together, but they don't make a convincing argument.

SpaceShipTwo goes 80 km up, I don't think it can go even 80 km downrange...  And it takes longer to get to altitude than it takes to fly 80 km...

SpaceShipTwo is exactly the opposite of what F1 was in terms of how they may or may not lead to an orbital vehicle...

And even F9 is not the kind of system required for long range p2p.  You need something like StarShip.  Good luck getting that out of VG.

No, it would go significantly farther than 80 km. A bowling ball in vacuum accelerated to the spaceshiptwo top speed from ground level would fly 125 km. A winged vehicle would go significantly farther in an atmosphere.
If it launched at 45 degrees.  Remember they're going all out to acheive even those 80 km, so they're flying nearly vertically.  And mostly out of the atmosphere, for purposes of acheiving range via lift.

You were speaking of several hundreds of miles...   Right now even according to your estimate, I don't see even 100.

To go long distance p2p, you need a practically orbital, fully reusable, manned spacecraft.  SpaceShipTwo is not a progenitor of such a vehicle and VG's toolset is not matched for such a challenge.  They may as well br starting from scratch, but with the baggage of what they have right now.
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Offline ncb1397

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Re: Virgin Galactic & Boeing Suborbital P2P Plane
« Reply #6 on: 10/18/2019 03:52 am »
This says a lot more about Boeing than it does about VG...

But actually not even that, since a venture capital operation owned by Boeing is in reality just a venture capital operation.  These kind if things tend to have a charter and operate pretty much independently of the parent.

VG will continue on their trajectory, they don't seem to have a motivated competitor.

They don't have any launch system with a path to the energies needed for long range manned supersonic travel. Their airframe is irrelevant as well, and $20M won't get them either of these.

Well, they have experience with composite airframe construction, a kerosene engine in a sister company nearly as powerful as the first iterations of merlin, experience with rocket powered human space planes up to mach 3+. So, I would say they have a path to the requirements of p2p rocket powered flight (their current system probably could fly a couple hundred miles as a boost glide vehicle). They also have experience with air breathing aircraft which this would likely be a hybrid system similar to plans for Buran.
You can put the words together, but they don't make a convincing argument.

SpaceShipTwo goes 80 km up, I don't think it can go even 80 km downrange...  And it takes longer to get to altitude than it takes to fly 80 km...

SpaceShipTwo is exactly the opposite of what F1 was in terms of how they may or may not lead to an orbital vehicle...

And even F9 is not the kind of system required for long range p2p.  You need something like StarShip.  Good luck getting that out of VG.

No, it would go significantly farther than 80 km. A bowling ball in vacuum accelerated to the spaceshiptwo top speed from ground level would fly 125 km. A winged vehicle would go significantly farther in an atmosphere.
If it launched at 45 degrees.  Remember they're going all out to acheive even those 80 km, so they're flying nearly vertically.  And mostly out of the atmosphere, for purposes of acheiving range via lift.

You were speaking of several hundreds of miles...   Right now even according to your estimate, I don't see even 100.

To go long distance p2p, you need a practically orbital, fully reusable, manned spacecraft.  SpaceShipTwo is not a progenitor of such a vehicle and VG's toolset is not matched for such a challenge.  They may as well br starting from scratch, but with the baggage of what they have right now.

It depends on the aerodynamics of the vehicle, but if we use the ratio of the range of the winged version of the V-2 compared to the purely ballistic range(550 km vs 250 km)[1] and apply it to the ballistic range of a projectile flying at the top speed of spaceshiptwo (125 km), we get a range of 275 kilometers or 171 miles.

[1]http://www.astronautix.com/a/a-4b.html

A couple of hundreds miles is close enough for rough comparisons between current capabilities and required capabilities.

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Re: Virgin Galactic & Boeing Suborbital P2P Plane
« Reply #7 on: 10/18/2019 04:01 am »
This says a lot more about Boeing than it does about VG...

But actually not even that, since a venture capital operation owned by Boeing is in reality just a venture capital operation.  These kind if things tend to have a charter and operate pretty much independently of the parent.

VG will continue on their trajectory, they don't seem to have a motivated competitor.

They don't have any launch system with a path to the energies needed for long range manned supersonic travel. Their airframe is irrelevant as well, and $20M won't get them either of these.

Well, they have experience with composite airframe construction, a kerosene engine in a sister company nearly as powerful as the first iterations of merlin, experience with rocket powered human space planes up to mach 3+. So, I would say they have a path to the requirements of p2p rocket powered flight (their current system probably could fly a couple hundred miles as a boost glide vehicle). They also have experience with air breathing aircraft which this would likely be a hybrid system similar to plans for Buran.
You can put the words together, but they don't make a convincing argument.

SpaceShipTwo goes 80 km up, I don't think it can go even 80 km downrange...  And it takes longer to get to altitude than it takes to fly 80 km...

SpaceShipTwo is exactly the opposite of what F1 was in terms of how they may or may not lead to an orbital vehicle...

And even F9 is not the kind of system required for long range p2p.  You need something like StarShip.  Good luck getting that out of VG.

No, it would go significantly farther than 80 km. A bowling ball in vacuum accelerated to the spaceshiptwo top speed from ground level would fly 125 km. A winged vehicle would go significantly farther in an atmosphere.
If it launched at 45 degrees.  Remember they're going all out to acheive even those 80 km, so they're flying nearly vertically.  And mostly out of the atmosphere, for purposes of acheiving range via lift.

You were speaking of several hundreds of miles...   Right now even according to your estimate, I don't see even 100.

To go long distance p2p, you need a practically orbital, fully reusable, manned spacecraft.  SpaceShipTwo is not a progenitor of such a vehicle and VG's toolset is not matched for such a challenge.  They may as well br starting from scratch, but with the baggage of what they have right now.

It depends on the aerodynamics of the vehicle, but if we use the ratio of the range of the winged version of the V-2 compared to the purely ballistic range(550 km vs 250 km)[1] and apply it to the ballistic range of a projectile flying at the top speed of spaceshiptwo (125 km), we get a range of 275 kilometers or 171 miles.

[1]http://www.astronautix.com/a/a-4b.html

A couple of hundreds miles is close enough for rough comparisons between current capabilities and required capabilities.
V2 didn't fly straight up and down...  Those ranges are for a vehicle trying to achieve range, not altitude.

And for SS2, what is the 125 km figure you're using?

This is such a convoluted way to estimate range...

And with all that, it still can't even fly halfway between SF and LA, and needs a jetliner to take it to launch altitude, taking almost an hour is it to get there?

Sorry - SpaceShipTwo and that entire architecture is built to do exactly one thing - a slow ascent to high jet altitude, then a vertical shot and a joyride down.

No range, no speed - and no path to get there.  It ain't starship, it ain't F9, it ain't F1, and it ain't even V2.
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Offline ncb1397

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Re: Virgin Galactic & Boeing Suborbital P2P Plane
« Reply #8 on: 10/18/2019 04:33 am »
This says a lot more about Boeing than it does about VG...

But actually not even that, since a venture capital operation owned by Boeing is in reality just a venture capital operation.  These kind if things tend to have a charter and operate pretty much independently of the parent.

VG will continue on their trajectory, they don't seem to have a motivated competitor.

They don't have any launch system with a path to the energies needed for long range manned supersonic travel. Their airframe is irrelevant as well, and $20M won't get them either of these.

Well, they have experience with composite airframe construction, a kerosene engine in a sister company nearly as powerful as the first iterations of merlin, experience with rocket powered human space planes up to mach 3+. So, I would say they have a path to the requirements of p2p rocket powered flight (their current system probably could fly a couple hundred miles as a boost glide vehicle). They also have experience with air breathing aircraft which this would likely be a hybrid system similar to plans for Buran.
You can put the words together, but they don't make a convincing argument.

SpaceShipTwo goes 80 km up, I don't think it can go even 80 km downrange...  And it takes longer to get to altitude than it takes to fly 80 km...

SpaceShipTwo is exactly the opposite of what F1 was in terms of how they may or may not lead to an orbital vehicle...

And even F9 is not the kind of system required for long range p2p.  You need something like StarShip.  Good luck getting that out of VG.

No, it would go significantly farther than 80 km. A bowling ball in vacuum accelerated to the spaceshiptwo top speed from ground level would fly 125 km. A winged vehicle would go significantly farther in an atmosphere.
If it launched at 45 degrees.  Remember they're going all out to acheive even those 80 km, so they're flying nearly vertically.  And mostly out of the atmosphere, for purposes of acheiving range via lift.

You were speaking of several hundreds of miles...   Right now even according to your estimate, I don't see even 100.

To go long distance p2p, you need a practically orbital, fully reusable, manned spacecraft.  SpaceShipTwo is not a progenitor of such a vehicle and VG's toolset is not matched for such a challenge.  They may as well br starting from scratch, but with the baggage of what they have right now.

It depends on the aerodynamics of the vehicle, but if we use the ratio of the range of the winged version of the V-2 compared to the purely ballistic range(550 km vs 250 km)[1] and apply it to the ballistic range of a projectile flying at the top speed of spaceshiptwo (125 km), we get a range of 275 kilometers or 171 miles.

[1]http://www.astronautix.com/a/a-4b.html

A couple of hundreds miles is close enough for rough comparisons between current capabilities and required capabilities.
V2 didn't fly straight up and down...  Those ranges are for a vehicle trying to achieve range, not altitude.

And for SS2, what is the 125 km figure you're using?


To reach 83 km from a 13 km launch point, you would an instantaneous speed at launch of ~1175 m/s fired straight up. Change the trajectory angle from straight up to 45 degrees, you get a down range ballistic distance of 141 km. No matter how you look at it, you get similar numbers. You are underestimating the range of spaceshiptwo because you seem to be assuming that it flies the same profile that it does when it is optimizing altitude.
« Last Edit: 10/18/2019 04:35 am by ncb1397 »

Online meekGee

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Re: Virgin Galactic & Boeing Suborbital P2P Plane
« Reply #9 on: 10/18/2019 04:45 am »


This says a lot more about Boeing than it does about VG...

But actually not even that, since a venture capital operation owned by Boeing is in reality just a venture capital operation.  These kind if things tend to have a charter and operate pretty much independently of the parent.

VG will continue on their trajectory, they don't seem to have a motivated competitor.

They don't have any launch system with a path to the energies needed for long range manned supersonic travel. Their airframe is irrelevant as well, and $20M won't get them either of these.

Well, they have experience with composite airframe construction, a kerosene engine in a sister company nearly as powerful as the first iterations of merlin, experience with rocket powered human space planes up to mach 3+. So, I would say they have a path to the requirements of p2p rocket powered flight (their current system probably could fly a couple hundred miles as a boost glide vehicle). They also have experience with air breathing aircraft which this would likely be a hybrid system similar to plans for Buran.
You can put the words together, but they don't make a convincing argument.

SpaceShipTwo goes 80 km up, I don't think it can go even 80 km downrange...  And it takes longer to get to altitude than it takes to fly 80 km...

SpaceShipTwo is exactly the opposite of what F1 was in terms of how they may or may not lead to an orbital vehicle...

And even F9 is not the kind of system required for long range p2p.  You need something like StarShip.  Good luck getting that out of VG.

No, it would go significantly farther than 80 km. A bowling ball in vacuum accelerated to the spaceshiptwo top speed from ground level would fly 125 km. A winged vehicle would go significantly farther in an atmosphere.
If it launched at 45 degrees.  Remember they're going all out to acheive even those 80 km, so they're flying nearly vertically.  And mostly out of the atmosphere, for purposes of acheiving range via lift.

You were speaking of several hundreds of miles...   Right now even according to your estimate, I don't see even 100.

To go long distance p2p, you need a practically orbital, fully reusable, manned spacecraft.  SpaceShipTwo is not a progenitor of such a vehicle and VG's toolset is not matched for such a challenge.  They may as well br starting from scratch, but with the baggage of what they have right now.

It depends on the aerodynamics of the vehicle, but if we use the ratio of the range of the winged version of the V-2 compared to the purely ballistic range(550 km vs 250 km)[1] and apply it to the ballistic range of a projectile flying at the top speed of spaceshiptwo (125 km), we get a range of 275 kilometers or 171 miles.

[1]http://www.astronautix.com/a/a-4b.html

A couple of hundreds miles is close enough for rough comparisons between current capabilities and required capabilities.
V2 didn't fly straight up and down...  Those ranges are for a vehicle trying to achieve range, not altitude.

And for SS2, what is the 125 km figure you're using?


To reach 83 km from a 13 km launch point, you would an instantaneous speed at launch of ~1175 m/s fired straight up. Change the trajectory angle from straight up to 45 degrees, you get a down range ballistic distance of 141 km. No matter how you look at it, you get similar numbers. You are underestimating the range of spaceshiptwo because you seem to be assuming that it flies the same profile that it does when it is optimizing altitude.

Let's go with your number - 140 km ballistic, less than 100 miles.  Maybe with some glide extension you can go over 100 miles.  (Never mind that this shell can't fly at 45 degrees or it will break apart - so the V2 extrapolations don't hold)

What kind if a ride is that if you need a jetliner to even launch it, and by the time it climbs to launch altitude it could have flown those 100 miles.... And be ready for a trip back in 20 minutes...  And with several times the payload....

It is not a p2p-compatible technology.
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Offline ncb1397

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Re: Virgin Galactic & Boeing Suborbital P2P Plane
« Reply #10 on: 10/18/2019 06:16 am »

Let's go with your number - 140 km ballistic, less than 100 miles.  Maybe with some glide extension you can go over 100 miles.  (Never mind that this shell can't fly at 45 degrees or it will break apart - so the V2 extrapolations don't hold)

What kind if a ride is that if you need a jetliner to even launch it, and by the time it climbs to launch altitude it could have flown those 100 miles.... And be ready for a trip back in 20 minutes...  And with several times the payload....

It is not a p2p-compatible technology.

I don't think your are looking at it like Virgin Galactic. Take the New York to London route that was serviced by Concorde. It is ~5500 km but for a ballistic trajectory, you don't need an insertion velocity close to orbital. Below is one that travels ~5500 km, takes 18 minutes and needs an insertion velocity of ~6.1 km/s (1.7 km/s short of orbital which is a lot due to the rocket equation). But with a boost glide vehicle, that insertion velocity would be substantially reduced as it would hit the atmosphere substantially short of its target and glide the rest of the way. So, I simply don't see the performance requirements that you do and that you have to use an orbital class system.

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Re: Virgin Galactic & Boeing Suborbital P2P Plane
« Reply #11 on: 10/18/2019 09:04 am »

Let's go with your number - 140 km ballistic, less than 100 miles.  Maybe with some glide extension you can go over 100 miles.  (Never mind that this shell can't fly at 45 degrees or it will break apart - so the V2 extrapolations don't hold)

What kind if a ride is that if you need a jetliner to even launch it, and by the time it climbs to launch altitude it could have flown those 100 miles.... And be ready for a trip back in 20 minutes...  And with several times the payload....

It is not a p2p-compatible technology.

I don't think your are looking at it like Virgin Galactic. Take the New York to London route that was serviced by Concorde. It is ~5500 km but for a ballistic trajectory, you don't need an insertion velocity close to orbital. Below is one that travels ~5500 km, takes 18 minutes and needs an insertion velocity of ~6.1 km/s (1.7 km/s short of orbital which is a lot due to the rocket equation). But with a boost glide vehicle, that insertion velocity would be substantially reduced as it would hit the atmosphere substantially short of its target and glide the rest of the way. So, I simply don't see the performance requirements that you do and that you have to use an orbital class system.
..  and there is nothing in common between what VG has developed and this vehicle you describe.

Not propulsion, not launch method, not airframe, not stored energy...  Of course they may be thinking about it, but so may anyone.
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Offline Lars-J

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Re: Virgin Galactic & Boeing Suborbital P2P Plane
« Reply #12 on: 10/21/2019 12:22 am »
Take the New York to London route that was serviced by Concorde. It is ~5500 km but for a ballistic trajectory, you don't need an insertion velocity close to orbital. Below is one that travels ~5500 km, takes 18 minutes and needs an insertion velocity of ~6.1 km/s (1.7 km/s short of orbital which is a lot due to the rocket equation). But with a boost glide vehicle, that insertion velocity would be substantially reduced as it would hit the atmosphere substantially short of its target and glide the rest of the way. So, I simply don't see the performance requirements that you do and that you have to use an orbital class system.

Even if the insertion velocity was 6km/s, or 5, or 4... That it a massive difference from what a WK2/SS2 architecture can do. I believe the current SS2 maxes out at ~1km/s, and that's with the the carrier aircraft boost.

Of course it is *possible*, but they will need a clean sheet approach that provides more delta-V but also significantly more heat protection. And if a carrier aircraft is going to be worth the extra complexity, it will need to provide a lot more push than a WK2 or Stratolaunch could provide.
« Last Edit: 10/21/2019 12:27 am by Lars-J »

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: Virgin Galactic & Boeing Suborbital P2P Plane
« Reply #13 on: 10/21/2019 02:48 am »
Take the New York to London route that was serviced by Concorde. It is ~5500 km but for a ballistic trajectory, you don't need an insertion velocity close to orbital. Below is one that travels ~5500 km, takes 18 minutes and needs an insertion velocity of ~6.1 km/s (1.7 km/s short of orbital which is a lot due to the rocket equation). But with a boost glide vehicle, that insertion velocity would be substantially reduced as it would hit the atmosphere substantially short of its target and glide the rest of the way. So, I simply don't see the performance requirements that you do and that you have to use an orbital class system.

Even if the insertion velocity was 6km/s, or 5, or 4... That it a massive difference from what a WK2/SS2 architecture can do. I believe the current SS2 maxes out at ~1km/s, and that's with the the carrier aircraft boost.

Of course it is *possible*, but they will need a clean sheet approach that provides more delta-V but also significantly more heat protection. And if a carrier aircraft is going to be worth the extra complexity, it will need to provide a lot more push than a WK2 or Stratolaunch could provide.
Whatever design they are coming up with, I'm fairly sure it won't be cheap to develop.

Offline Vahe231991

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Re: Virgin Galactic & Boeing Suborbital P2P Plane
« Reply #14 on: 04/29/2023 04:52 pm »
I thought that this news item might be of some relevance to this thread:
https://aviationweek.com/aerospace/commercial-space/boeings-aurora-build-two-mother-ships-virgin-galactic

Since Boeing's subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences and Virgin Galactic signed a contract last year to build two new White Knight Two aircraft, it'd be interesting to see if Boeing teams up with Virgin Galactic in designing a variant of the Delta spaceplane follow-on to SpaceShipThree using mixed lightweight composite and titanium construction to endure heat friction at speeds of Mach 3 to 4.

 

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