Author Topic: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation  (Read 36992 times)

Offline JCRM

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Re: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation
« Reply #100 on: 08/09/2022 11:24 am »
Quote from: Reaction Engines
HVX’s immediate objective is to rapidly mature technologies which can deliver a step-change reduction in the cost of developing a reusable high-Mach/hypersonic air vehicle.  Reaction Engines’ novel precooler and SABRE combined-cycle engine technologies are key foundations for the Programme.  In combination with Rolls-Royce’s world-beating gas turbine technology, this brings a formidable capability to take on the challenging problems inherent with hypersonic flight.

Additionally, the Programme is undertaking design work on experimental hypersonic vehicle concepts.  At the Farnborough International Air Show a single engine hypersonic concept vehicle – “Concept V” has been unveiled.  This example vehicle is one of a number of concept designs in active development by the Programme.

So HVX may be a precursor to HTB

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation
« Reply #101 on: 08/09/2022 01:29 pm »
So HVX may be a precursor to HTB

I don't think the MoD would like to think of it in quite those terms.  ;)

But once you're above M5, however you get there, if you want to stay there for any significant length of time (Which I'd say >10 secs)  you're going to have to address certain common issues, but technology that didn't exist when the X-15 and SR71 were in development have opened up all sorts of options.
Some stuff could be tested at any scale, merely to move the TRL level from the work bench/test rig --> actually flown. IMHO a key high level design choice is Hydraulic Vs electric. The Shuttle OMS and Pegasus and Vega TVC's were or are all electric, so it's certainly in the running, provided battery capacity (or onboard generation, which is SOP for non-expendable aircraft or drones) at these temperatures (and the X-15 had on board electricity generation through its APU's) is up to the job.

I'm thinking a mix of "flight stuff" like high temperature temperature/pressure/mass flow sensors along with "design" or operational stuff, like water cooled brakes, and consumables loading through wheel wells to reduce the number of lower surface openings. Fibre optics open up a world of options (up to about 400c, or you can go to Sapphire, but only in about 1.5m lengths, which suggests it will be very expensive).
I think some amazing stuff could be done with Low Temperature Cofired Ceramics. It's a very flexible technology and big in Poland and Czech Republic but less so in the UK. Los Alamos NL have done remarkable things with it.

Likewise sound and air pressure, transmitted down tubes <1.5mm dia, have been use as temperature and strain gauges, the former developed by the Dragon reactor project to measure to 1500c, within 1%, but requiring a complex manual procedure (although I'd guess with modern processors or their specialist support chips "too complex to automate" would have to be very complex indeed). One was develped for NASA using Molydenum wire a couple of mm thick, but it was only accurate to 50c.

What I liked about the X-15 programme was that after the core tests were carried out (by 1963 apparently) it had enough flexibility (and enough interest in the experimental community) to run all sorts of tests. A modern update could do so also provided a degree of flexibility was designed in from the outset. [Edit should be collected to meet REL goals, and what hooks would make the design more versatile to 3rd parties, are core subjects for this thread]

« Last Edit: 08/12/2022 11:36 am by john smith 19 »
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. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¬cheap

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation
« Reply #102 on: 08/16/2022 06:30 am »
While I was offline I was thinking about the actual process for the HTB.

I think a key person within REL will need to be a "Flight Data Coordinator" to ensure that all groups have enough storage, and bandwidth to that storage to ensure any given flight is successful.

For example while in theory micro USD' can handle writes at 300MB/S, AFAIK the highest available data rate is actually 90MB/S. No doubt it will get better  before the vehicle flies, but that should be tracked.

Likewise formats can cause issues. Consider air pressure. SL air pressure standard is 101326Pa, or 1 Bar or 1000 millibars (or worst case, a voltage reading taken from a sensor). The first gives maximum accuracy, at a cost of 2 and 1/8 bytes each. Maybe that's what is necessary to deliver useful data for the test team. It would be the FDC's job to track these needs, see what's necessary and negotiate with other teams if more is needed.

Sometimes the data might need to be pre-procesed onboard. Taking blocks of readings to create a "Signature" reading. But how? Averages are easy if the block size is a power of 2 and the register widths are big enough. But the peak value (or peak and trough values) might be more useful.

I see this all being kept in a document that can then be post-processed to generate the configuration inforamtion for the on-board data system. During design it  tracks who's collecting what data, at what data rate and (just as important) what's the reamining bandwidth available in case something unexpected comes up.

BTW given the potential data collection WiFi is not really fast enough to transmit the data in reasonable time, so another task would be to identify "Quick look" data to be downloaded (by whatever means) as a priority.

I'll be interested to see how REL does this, and what form the "Document" actually takes. It could range from a text document with multiple post-processors (flexible if you have the text mashing skills) to an actual database with formal structure, access control etc.
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. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¬cheap

Offline edzieba

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Re: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation
« Reply #103 on: 08/16/2022 12:11 pm »
I don't think that's enough of a concern to require a whole new job role, compact CotS aerospace DAQ setups are readily available, no need to reinvent the wheel there.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation
« Reply #104 on: 08/17/2022 07:00 am »
I don't think that's enough of a concern to require a whole new job role, compact CotS aerospace DAQ setups are readily available, no need to reinvent the wheel there.
Actually I expect it to be a role someone in the team building or specing the DAQ system.

IRL the data sampling stuff is the easy bit, it's the actual sensors they are reading that are likley to taking up most of the space, mass and power.

Those used in consumer devices can be very small MEMS, but they are only an option if they can deliver the parameter range being measured. If not you are going to need something more "industrial" built with more conventional methods, and hence likely substantially bulkier.

My point was that such decisions are not quite as simple as people might think and poor choices can swallow
large chunks of storage and bandwidth. If you went with reading atmospheric pressure in Pa a straight conversion would be to a 17bit number. Storage is byte addressible so that's going to need 3 bytes with 7 unused bits. What do you do with those 7 unused bits?

The simple answer is just to leave them empty. That's about 29% of the storage, but that's only channel.  The problem is that it won't just be one channel that's being sampled. The X-15 had about 1100 channels of data (and it's fairly obvious they would have liked more in some areas). At 90MBS that's about 81KB/sec per channel. Again you can bite the bullet and just leave that storage empty or use it for something else.  That's where you need someone to keep track of what's wanted, what's needed in what format, etc.

The classic example for why someone doing this is needed would be the Shuttle Body Flap, which was subjected to (IIRC) substantially higher heating than predicted and they needed the hinge angle to drive 2 competing models of the behaviour. However this data was only available at 1 reading/sec, meaning that by the next actual reading was available conditions had changed a lot.

Obviously HTB is probably not going to have a body flap, but the possibility for the same kind of problem to appear exists. AIUI this was an issue due to the limitations of the Shuttles onboard telementry recording system. But as I've noted it would be possible to swamp the available bandwidth and storage with some poorly planned choices. If something then appears in testing and the whole bandwidth is committed you then have to ditch some channels to make room to measure that phenomena instead. Having someone tracking usage, needs and possible contingencies seems a very good idea to me.
« Last Edit: 08/19/2022 05:30 am by john smith 19 »
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. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¬cheap

Offline edzieba

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Re: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation
« Reply #105 on: 08/17/2022 10:45 am »
Again, that's really not a problem that needs to be re-solved. If the required bandwidth is more than one DAQ can handle, use a second one, syncing timestamping is a standard function. Industrial sensors are not always big chunky things (e.g. remote fibre sensing; which includes strain sensing, chemical detection, pressure sensing, etc).
The STS MMUs for first flight were magnetic tape based. That capacity and bandwidth limitation is not present today.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation
« Reply #106 on: 08/19/2022 05:55 am »
Quote from: edzieba
Industrial sensors are not always big chunky things (e.g. remote fibre sensing; which includes strain sensing, chemical detection, pressure sensing, etc).
As I noted if the demand for a)That specific set of parameters and b)That dynamic range already exists. Otherwise they will have to deal with the OTS sensors that are available, unless they develop their own. I personally think LCC has a lot of potential in this area. It's a relatively cheap technology to set up and has a lot of flexibility. It's raw operating temperature is also comfortably 100s of Co above semiconductors on PCBs

Quote from: edzieba
The STS MMUs for first flight were magnetic tape based. That capacity and bandwidth limitation is not present today.
They were. But while the size of the limits on storage and bandwidth have greatly increased the limits still exist. Society is full of examples (especially in the environment) where certain resources were thought of as "infinite" when  in fact they are not. We are now living through some of the consequences of that mindset.  :(

A classic one in the IT field was described in "Programming Pearls" where the advent of virtual memory lead to people designing software using very large arrays. For small applications there was no problem as the whole array was in memory. Once the problems got bigger the system started swapping chunks out. Work was now done in bursts with long chunks inbetween when the next section of array was swapped in.

This should have been obvious in hindsight. More subtle was that some array address patterns (the "stride" between the cells being accessed) got a lot more work done in the same amount of clock time.

Tracking who needs what, who wants what and how much of a resource is left lets you make rational decisions on what to use that resource for, and to keep some in reserve in case "unknown unknowns" have to be investigated.

It's also a fact that those parameters won't exist in a vacuum. Associated with each of them wil be a slew of information about system setup and how to extract and process it.  In the third decade of the 21st century no one should be doing that by hand anymore.

You don't seem to think this needs any tracking or management so I think we'll have to agree to differ on this point. I'm sure we'll find out how REL dealt with the matter in due course.
« Last Edit: 08/19/2022 06:00 am by john smith 19 »
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. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¬cheap

Offline edzieba

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Re: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation
« Reply #107 on: 08/19/2022 10:50 am »
You don't seem to think this needs any tracking or management so I think we'll have to agree to differ on this point.
No more so than they will already be doing for their many existing test stands.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation
« Reply #108 on: 08/24/2022 06:47 am »
As to what a Hypersonic Test Bed could be used for Stratolaunch released a paper on their work.

The full size vehicle is called "Hyper-Z" and is pitched to go M10, but the vehicle they've built so far is what's called in the paper "Hyper-A" but is now named "Talon" and is targetting M6. They are claiming that it can reach M2-3 from the runway on internal rocket power alone (without the ROC to carry it). But that leads to questions about landing gear mass, unless they plan some kind of trolley takeoff, or a big hit on payload IE experiments.

Table 2 of this paper suggests some of the sort of people who would be interested in testing stuff on their vehicle. 

Curtis Wright also have a white paper on desiging DAQ for a HTB, and it also looks like Talon. CW bought a UK company that specializes in this sort of work, which would complicate ITAR issues, unless REL can find someone else to deal with this side of things.

IOW people do think there is a market for a high speed reusable test vehicle to allow research teams to explore various different areas of M5+ flight, and to refine their ideas and retest them again.
« Last Edit: 08/24/2022 06:49 am by john smith 19 »
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. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¬cheap

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation
« Reply #109 on: 08/24/2022 06:25 pm »
As to what a Hypersonic Test Bed could be used for Stratolaunch released a paper on their work.

The full size vehicle is called "Hyper-Z" and is pitched to go M10, but the vehicle they've built so far is what's called in the paper "Hyper-A" but is now named "Talon" and is targetting M6. They are claiming that it can reach M2-3 from the runway on internal rocket power alone (without the ROC to carry it). But that leads to questions about landing gear mass, unless they plan some kind of trolley takeoff, or a big hit on payload IE experiments.

Table 2 of this paper suggests some of the sort of people who would be interested in testing stuff on their vehicle. 

Curtis Wright also have a white paper on desiging DAQ for a HTB, and it also looks like Talon. CW bought a UK company that specializes in this sort of work, which would complicate ITAR issues, unless REL can find someone else to deal with this side of things.

IOW people do think there is a market for a high speed reusable test vehicle to allow research teams to explore various different areas of M5+ flight, and to refine their ideas and retest them again.
That paper is out of date. Their Hydrolox engine development was cancelled when Allen's family took over business. Still developing a Hypersonic vehicle which is powered by Usra Hadley engine.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation
« Reply #110 on: 08/25/2022 07:25 am »
That paper is out of date. Their Hydrolox engine development was cancelled when Allen's family took over business. Still developing a Hypersonic vehicle which is powered by Usra Hadley engine.
As I noted it's no longer called "Hyper A" but Talon. Hadley appears to be  ORSC Kerolox, but that doesn't change the elements of the paper that I quoted.

And in this context they believe there is a market for 3rd party organisations who would like to use such a facility, which is the idea behind this thread as well.
« Last Edit: 08/26/2022 06:37 am by john smith 19 »
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. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¬cheap

Offline JCRM

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Re: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation
« Reply #111 on: 09/06/2022 11:49 am »
No more so than they will already be doing for their many existing test stands.
What test stands?

There's TF2.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation
« Reply #112 on: 09/06/2022 02:34 pm »
No more so than they will already be doing for their many existing test stands.
What test stands?

There's TF2.
HTX test stand in Denver (TF2), HX3 test stand at Kemble, preburner test stand and IPS test stands at Cotswald airport, the rocket nozzle test stand(s) at Wescott, and the old 'back yard' precooler test rig also at Wescott.

Offline JCRM

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Re: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation
« Reply #113 on: 09/07/2022 02:02 am »
No more so than they will already be doing for their many existing test stands.
What test stands?

There's TF2.
HTX test stand in Denver (TF2), HX3 test stand at Kemble, preburner test stand and IPS test stands at Cotswald airport, the rocket nozzle test stand(s) at Wescott, and the old 'back yard' precooler test rig also at Wescott.
HTX: RE Inc, Colorado.
Precooler test stand, Reaction Engines Ltd, Culham, *
Cold E/D: Bristol University, Bristol
STERN, STRICT, STOIC, pre-burner injector, HX3: Airborne engineering, at Westcott
Pre-burner, Integrated Pre-burner/HX3: S&C Thermofluids, Cotswald airport in Kemble

*I missed this one because I was thinking solely of hot tests. Mea Culpa. In  my defence Reaction didn't consider it a test facility

My point stands, Reaction operates a single test stand, and are likely to rely in part on the equipment and engineer expertise at the other facilities -- explicitly so at AEL.

John Smith 19 is right in saying Reaction, as it grows and its teams specialise, should have someone  coordinating the data collection to ensure data relevant to the whole platform is gathered during tests, not just that desired by the designers of the particular subsystem. I would hope and expect there is already someone doing this, but it's the kind of thing that can get missed.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation
« Reply #114 on: 09/07/2022 07:42 am »
HTX: RE Inc, Colorado.
Precooler test stand, Reaction Engines Ltd, Culham, *
Cold E/D: Bristol University, Bristol
STERN, STRICT, STOIC, pre-burner injector, HX3: Airborne engineering, at Westcott
Pre-burner, Integrated Pre-burner/HX3: S&C Thermofluids, Cotswald airport in Kemble

*I missed this one because I was thinking solely of hot tests. Mea Culpa. In  my defence Reaction didn't consider it a test facility

My point stands, Reaction operates a single test stand, and are likely to rely in part on the equipment and engineer expertise at the other facilities -- explicitly so at AEL.

John Smith 19 is right in saying Reaction, as it grows and its teams specialise, should have someone  coordinating the data collection to ensure data relevant to the whole platform is gathered during tests, not just that desired by the designers of the particular subsystem. I would hope and expect there is already someone doing this, but it's the kind of thing that can get missed.
Wellll my original point was in the context of the thread title (or HTB as we should now call it) and the data that it needs to collect (and what others would like it to collect) but  :) in fact listing the possible sites that could be involved makes it even more important.

IMHO the worst case scenario would be a partner organisation (such as a post grad at Bristol) doing their project (with Reaction support in some form) but the test parameters are just a bit off and it's too expensive to re-run. IOW the whole dataset is wasted.  :(

HTB is a key element on the path to be being able to offer a complete SABRE package, but it has the possibility of generating an ongoing revenue stream, not as a product but as a service if the needs of outside users are considered in its design and construction.

What those needs might be, and how to ensure they are factored in, are definitely on topic for this thread.
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. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¬cheap

Offline JCRM

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Re: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation
« Reply #115 on: 09/07/2022 09:54 am »


HTB is a key element on the path to be being able to offer a complete SABRE package, but it has the possibility of generating an ongoing revenue stream, not as a product but as a service if the needs of outside users are considered in its design and construction.


... and as a product, if something like the now defunct Orbex Orbital Access is started.
« Last Edit: 09/08/2022 09:27 am by JCRM »

Offline edzieba

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Offline john smith 19

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Re: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation
« Reply #117 on: 09/08/2022 07:16 am »


HTB is a key element on the path to be being able to offer a complete SABRE package, but it has the possibility of generating an ongoing revenue stream, not as a product but as a service if the needs of outside users are considered in its design and construction.


... and as a product, if something like the now defunct Orbex is started.
Or not.

Interestingly both Orbex and Skyrora are saying they are using "bio" derived fuels. I knew one was running "Biopropane" but I didn't realise the other was using a keroscene derived from waste plastics.

However this is OT for the thread itself but it's good to see people tackling the environmental issues up front (LH2 of course burns to water, which has a life in the atmosphere of 8-9 days).
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. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¬cheap

Offline edzieba

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Re: Reaction engines Flight Test Vehicle speculation
« Reply #118 on: 09/08/2022 08:40 am »


HTB is a key element on the path to be being able to offer a complete SABRE package, but it has the possibility of generating an ongoing revenue stream, not as a product but as a service if the needs of outside users are considered in its design and construction.


... and as a product, if something like the now defunct Orbex is started.
Or not.

Interestingly both Orbex and Skyrora are saying they are using "bio" derived fuels. I knew one was running "Biopropane" but I didn't realise the other was using a keroscene derived from waste plastics.

However this is OT for the thread itself but it's good to see people tackling the environmental issues up front (LH2 of course burns to water, which has a life in the atmosphere of 8-9 days).
With the cost of any additional refinement/purification, if you have already decided to go for a Syntin-like synthesised propellant, deriving it from renewable feedstocks is not a significant cost increase so an easy ecological win.

Offline JCRM

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