Author Topic: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane  (Read 10413 times)

Offline LittleBird

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #40 on: 04/05/2024 06:57 am »

OK. I realised belatedly that there was also a presentational problem for the pre-SDI people like Max Hunter, in that they had to argue that shuttle would already suffice for building their first tranche of laser battle stations etc, whereas the TAV people had a much more direct incentive to play up the shuttle's limitations-essentially seeing it as an X-plane to be improved on. 


Don't get me wrong: I don't think that this was inherently a bad thing. Somebody (organization) has to generate new ideas and push for applications of new technologies.

My point is that it looks like these TAV/whatever proposals did not originate in the part of the USAF (or DoD) that traditionally operated and developed space programs. And there does not appear to be any requirement that was established at the top levels that then led somebody to conclude "We should develop a space transportation system to meet that requirement."

I still think this TAV stuff is kinda cool. But understanding what I wrote above helps explain why it never really went into development.

I think the grabs below from Schweikart's Vol III of the Hypersonic Revolution largely substantiate your impression.

It seems that

1. [Edit: correction, sorry, it seems there was a McDonnell Douglas TAV proposal as well as the Science Dawn one that kicked off this thread. It was a company funded addition to the other bidders to the 83-84 era TAV study]. The note on this is not in grabs below but is somewhere in grabs from Schweikart immediately upthread.

2. At least one RASV study, in late 70s, _was_ for  AF  Space Division,

but

3. The 1980s TAV studies were  largely for the Aeronautical Systems Division (ASD, part of Systems Command) and catalysed by one person's enthusiasm, Gen. Lawrence Skentze.  It sounds as if TAV grew quite fast but that  AF space in particular was not particularly interested, which Schweikart suggests may be one reason why DARPA got NASP to run.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2024 11:47 am by LittleBird »

Offline tuomasn81

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #41 on: 04/05/2024 09:36 am »
For the record there's an useful article about the TAV program from the June 1984 Air Force Magazine available online https://www.airandspaceforces.com/article/0684bold/. Shows some of the thinking behind this at the time.

Offline LittleBird

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #42 on: 04/05/2024 10:12 am »
For the record there's an useful article about the TAV program from the June 1984 Air Force Magazine available online https://www.airandspaceforces.com/article/0684bold/. Shows some of the thinking behind this at the time.

Thanks for that. Certainly shows what people would say to sympathetic journalists ;-)

 e.g:

Quote
“Wouldn’t it be great,” postulates Mr. Tremaine [Deputy for Development Planning at Air Force Systems Command’s Aeronautical Systems Division (ASD)]  , “if the Soviet Union suddenly found itself faced with the US Air Force having a machine that could operate on its own, totally free from counteraction, capable of rapidly delivering weapons anywhere on the globe?”

and

Quote
McDonnell Douglas’s [TAV program manager] Czysz disclaims any nuclear-attack notions or intentions for the TAV. “With it,” he says, “we would be able to go completely conventional. We could do what every linebacker does: Sack the quarterback without destroying him — hit his throwing arm in many different ways.”

Which ways For example, by embedding needle-like kinetic projectiles into enemy tracking and fire-control radars, thus overwhelming their antennae, or by pranging titanium spikes into runways, along which no aircraft could thenceforth take off or land.

“We could avoid annihilating things — simply cause them not to function,” Mr. Czysz declares. “We would deny the enemy the ability to launch an attack.”

etc etc etc.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2024 10:17 am by LittleBird »

Offline leovinus

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #43 on: 04/05/2024 02:23 pm »
A couple of observations about this thread:

-The subject line really isn't accurate anymore. It should be more general, maybe something like "American spaceplane concepts of the 1980s and 90s." Or maybe somebody has a better suggestion?

Agreed. If the thread is renamed then with a throwback to post #9 we probably should include "transatmospheric" in the title such that it will be more easily searchable in future. Maybe "American spaceplane and transatmospheric (TAV) concepts of the 1980s and 90s."?

Offline Blackstar

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #44 on: 04/05/2024 03:57 pm »
Maybe "American spaceplane and transatmospheric (TAV) concepts of the 1980s and 90s."?

Okay, so here's something that puzzles me. Maybe it has already been answered up-thread, but why "transatmospheric"? That means in and out of the atmosphere. But when was that term invented, and has it ever been applied to anything other than these 1980s proposals?


Offline TheKutKu

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #45 on: 04/05/2024 04:30 pm »
Maybe "American spaceplane and transatmospheric (TAV) concepts of the 1980s and 90s."?

Okay, so here's something that puzzles me. Maybe it has already been answered up-thread, but why "transatmospheric"? That means in and out of the atmosphere. But when was that term invented, and has it ever been applied to anything other than these 1980s proposals?

India's DRDO AVATAR concept has (had?) Transatmospheric in its name, it was later, however.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2024 04:32 pm by TheKutKu »

Offline john smith 19

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #46 on: 04/05/2024 05:03 pm »
Okay, so here's something that puzzles me. Maybe it has already been answered up-thread, but why "transatmospheric"? That means in and out of the atmosphere. But when was that term invented, and has it ever been applied to anything other than these 1980s proposals?
You don't know either?  :)

I dimly recall reading something in "Spaceflight." I think it was the one with the Alan Bond interview in it. It was mentioned that the US repeated attempts to build strategic BMD systems suggested the idea "What if you could build something like an ICBM warhead" but without needing the whole ICBM to get it up to speed. Something reusable.

Since ICBM's do leave the atmosphere before the warhead re-enters, as opposed to any kind of more conventional (IE air-breathing) aircraft it would probably also be a trans-atmospheric vehicle.

TBH I've always thought it a bit of an odd term as well. When I looked at the SCramjet designs that came up I could square the term with the engines. Were they going to flame out, then re-start back inside the atmosphere? It made no sense.  :(
MCT ITS BFR SS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFSC engined CFRP SS structure A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of Earth & Mars atmospheric flight.First flight to Mars by end of 2022 TBC. T&C apply. Trust nothing. Run your own #s "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¬cheap SCramjet proposed 1956. First +ve thrust 2004. US R&D spend to date > $10Bn. #deployed designs. Zero.

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #47 on: 04/05/2024 05:06 pm »
Maybe "American spaceplane and transatmospheric (TAV) concepts of the 1980s and 90s."?

Okay, so here's something that puzzles me. Maybe it has already been answered up-thread, but why "transatmospheric"? That means in and out of the atmosphere. But when was that term invented, and has it ever been applied to anything other than these 1980s proposals?
Was that term used for the X-15?

Offline LittleBird

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #48 on: 04/05/2024 05:13 pm »
Maybe "American spaceplane and transatmospheric (TAV) concepts of the 1980s and 90s."?

Okay, so here's something that puzzles me. Maybe it has already been answered up-thread, but why "transatmospheric"? That means in and out of the atmosphere. But when was that term invented, and has it ever been applied to anything other than these 1980s proposals?
Was that term used for the X-15?

I was delighted to discover a few years ago that in those days there was (also?) an even better term ... satelloid c.f. this kit box (but also more official places).

« Last Edit: 04/05/2024 05:14 pm by LittleBird »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #49 on: 04/05/2024 06:02 pm »
Since ICBM's do leave the atmosphere before the warhead re-enters, as opposed to any kind of more conventional (IE air-breathing) aircraft it would probably also be a trans-atmospheric vehicle.

TBH I've always thought it a bit of an odd term as well. When I looked at the SCramjet designs that came up I could square the term with the engines. Were they going to flame out, then re-start back inside the atmosphere? It made no sense.  :(

Okay, I guess there are two ways to split that issue:

-why fly like this at all? (This requires a bit of squinting, because arguably an ICBM is transatmospheric, so presumably the term transatmospheric means just barely above the atmosphere, not up and then down.)

-who, when, why invented the term "transatmospheric"?

Offline leovinus

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #50 on: 04/05/2024 06:18 pm »
Maybe "American spaceplane and transatmospheric (TAV) concepts of the 1980s and 90s."?

Okay, so here's something that puzzles me. Maybe it has already been answered up-thread, but why "transatmospheric"? That means in and out of the atmosphere. But when was that term invented, and has it ever been applied to anything other than these 1980s proposals?
The impression is that it goes back to a military turf battle. A name was needed which was not "spaceplane". They invented a new term and came up with "transatmospheric vehicle". It was mentioned upthread in post #9 and in this TheSpaceReview article - Solving the commercial passenger spaceflight puzzle (part 3) where it says
Quote
In early 1983, as ASD was about to issue short-term study contracts to define useful solutions, SD’s sensitivity to ASD’s focus on space access became apparent and a political hot potato. Especially, they opposed any use of “space” in the title such as in “spaceplane”. After the name sensitivity became apparent, the name “Transatmospheric Vehicle” or TAV was invented. It did not use space, spaceplane, or shuttle, but it correctly identified the intended operational characteristics of the system much as do the generic names “bomber” and “fighter.” In late 1983, ASD’s Deputy for Development Planning wrote:
As this TAV term/name/designation was a political work-around, it would explain why the term was dropped in 90s and the NASP became a spaceplane again.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2024 06:18 pm by leovinus »

Offline leovinus

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #51 on: 04/05/2024 07:00 pm »
Maybe "American spaceplane and transatmospheric (TAV) concepts of the 1980s and 90s."?

Okay, so here's something that puzzles me. Maybe it has already been answered up-thread, but why "transatmospheric"? That means in and out of the atmosphere. But when was that term invented, and has it ever been applied to anything other than these 1980s proposals?
Was that term used for the X-15?

I was delighted to discover a few years ago that in those days there was (also?) an even better term ... satelloid c.f. this kit box (but also more official places).
As a small detour, the term Satelloid has a whole other history btw. It originates from Krafft Ehricke who wrote an article in 1955 titled "The Satelloid", published at IAF 6th International Astronautical Congress, Copenhagen, 1–6 August 1955, published in Astronautica Acta, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1956, pp. 63–100 and Aero Digest, Vol. 73, pp 46-48,50,52,54, July 1956. Front page attached.

It designates a powered vehicle—half airplane, half spaceship—with sustained thrust that operates in circular orbits roughly between 100 to 200 kilometers. There was talk of high-altitude satelloids between 150 and 200 miles and low-altitude satelloids between 80 and 120 miles. Based on Ehricke's definition, the X-15 is not actually a Satelloid as it does not enter a circular orbit :) Semantics aside, I like Ehricke's definition for clarity.

There is at least one book, which title escapes me at the moment, but I have a screenshot attached, where Ehricke's definition is force wrangled into describing planes which fly to orbits to repair satellites. The X-15 is mentioned as one project. While I prefer Ehricke's clear distinction between satellites from satelloids, I can see where the model makers picked up the idea that a X-15 is a satelloid.

Back to the TAVs.

PS: I had one of those model kits too :)

Offline leovinus

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #52 on: 04/05/2024 07:16 pm »
Work by Ramon Chase at ANSER was mentioned earlier in the thread as he wrote the paper "The Military Transatmospheric Aerospace Plane", Ramon L. Chase, 1996, attached as 965565.pdf on NSF at
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=60227.msg2564401#msg2564401

Therefore, I checked out some more articles by him. ANSER btw seems to stand for ANalytical SERvices it seems, a fascinating outfit to produce studies for the government. Like RAND but on the East Coast next to the Pentagon.

The point being that he also wrote an article in 2002

The Quest for Single Stage Earth-to-Orbit: TAV, NASP, DC-X and X-33 Accomplishments, Deficiencies, and Why They Did Not Fly
Ramon Chase and Ming Tang, 2002
Session: HY-7: Propulsion Concepts I
https://doi.org/10.2514/6.2002-5143

The article is as fascinating at it sounds. There is even a link between earlier high speed work Isinglass and the TAV work at Wright-Patterson. Attached a quote from page 4. The article mentions that some TAV thermal protection work learned from an Isinglass test article which I never heard about. In other words, this thread's 80s TAV studies seem well founded on earlier work.

Offline LittleBird

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #53 on: 04/05/2024 08:31 pm »
PS: I had one of those model kits too :)

You are one up on me, I had to go and find a picture ... not mine, alas.

However , Blackstar may be amused to see what happens when  Google Ngram is put to work on the word "transatmospheric". I'm genuinely surprised, before this thread I'd have thought it was a 70s coinage-one of many new things I've learned here.

Offline tuomasn81

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #54 on: 04/05/2024 11:57 pm »
[1] https://media.defense.gov/2010/Sep/27/2001329812/-1/-1/0/AFD-100927-035.pdf
AFD-100927-035.pdf roughly page 644 to 698
THE HYPERSONIC REVOLUTION - Case Studies in the History of Hypersonic Technology
Volume II - From Scramjet to the National Aero-Space Plane (1964-1986)
edt. Dr. Richard P. Hallion

According to this

Quote
McMullen launched a major planning effort under the overall direction of Stanley Tremaine, then ASD's Deputy for Development Planning, for such craft. Tremaine subsequently dubbed these "Transatmospheric Vehicles" (TAV), since they hopefully could operate with equal efficiency both within the atmosphere and within space.
(page 1336 [648 of pdf])

I remember reading also elsewhere that Tremaine was the person who coined the term TAV. And that a distinguishing feature of a "true" TAV would be the ability to perform atmospheric plane change manouvers, as indirectly descriebed in page 1341 (653) of the above source.

Offline tuomasn81

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #55 on: 04/06/2024 12:01 pm »
A couple of observations about this thread:

-The subject line really isn't accurate anymore. It should be more general, maybe something like "American spaceplane concepts of the 1980s and 90s." Or maybe somebody has a better suggestion?

Regarding the thread title, my wish would be something like "American 1970s and 1980s  pre-NASP spaceplane concepts (ALSV, AMSC, TAV etc.)".

Since there is a clear lineage how these various rocket propelled concepts beginning from the late 1970s eventually got soaked up by the airbreathing NASP program. And perhaps have a separate thread for "1990s and 2000s spaceplane concepts" if necessary since later projects are again quite distinct both from a political and technical perspective. Also we have already discussed basically just the 1980s projects for almost three pages, might not make sence to lump many more programs here :)
« Last Edit: 04/06/2024 12:02 pm by tuomasn81 »

Offline edzieba

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #56 on: 04/06/2024 12:41 pm »
A "Trans-Atmospheric Vehicle" sounds like a vehicle that operates primarily in, or spends a meaningful amount of its time within, the interface between atmospheric flight and exoatmospheric flight. The Shuttle Orbiter and 'regular' spaceplanes like the X-37B and Dream Chaser would not be TAVs, as whilst they perform that transit twice that is merely incidental to their normal in-space operations. Silbervogel-like skip-glide and boost-glide vehicles would be TAVs, as transitioning in and out of the atmosphere is one of their primary defining features.

Offline LittleBird

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #57 on: 04/06/2024 01:14 pm »
Maybe "American spaceplane and transatmospheric (TAV) concepts of the 1980s and 90s."?

Okay, so here's something that puzzles me. Maybe it has already been answered up-thread, but why "transatmospheric"? That means in and out of the atmosphere. But when was that term invented, and has it ever been applied to anything other than these 1980s proposals?
The impression is that it goes back to a military turf battle. A name was needed which was not "spaceplane". They invented a new term and came up with "transatmospheric vehicle". It was mentioned upthread in post #9 and in this TheSpaceReview article - Solving the commercial passenger spaceflight puzzle (part 3) where it says
Quote
In early 1983, as ASD was about to issue short-term study contracts to define useful solutions, SD’s sensitivity to ASD’s focus on space access became apparent and a political hot potato. Especially, they opposed any use of “space” in the title such as in “spaceplane”. After the name sensitivity became apparent, the name “Transatmospheric Vehicle” or TAV was invented. It did not use space, spaceplane, or shuttle, but it correctly identified the intended operational characteristics of the system much as do the generic names “bomber” and “fighter.” In late 1983, ASD’s Deputy for Development Planning wrote:
As this TAV term/name/designation was a political work-around, it would explain why the term was dropped in 90s and the NASP became a spaceplane again.


I think that as well as turf it was about presentation in a Cold War context. Satellites were covered by the Outer Space treaty, and ICBMs were covered by SALT I if not II. TAVs on the other hand were legally a new thing, especially if used for conventional weapons as per the MD manager I quoted unthread. There is an intriguing (at least to me) story here-Bill Perry’s Carter era emphasis on non nuclear weapons and high tech evolving in the rather freewheeling early Reagan era of SDI and other schemes.

Offline leovinus

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #58 on: 04/11/2024 05:46 pm »
PS: Regarding the thread title, I asked the moderators to help and sent them a suggestion.

Offline Emmettvonbrown

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Re: McDonnell Douglas GRM-29 SSTO global strike spaceplane
« Reply #59 on: 04/12/2024 09:59 am »
Posting a few Ramon L. Chase papers. I'll try to add more of them.

« Last Edit: 04/12/2024 10:04 am by Emmettvonbrown »

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