Author Topic: Horizontal Launch Study  (Read 15325 times)

Offline jongoff

  • Recovering Rocket Plumber/Space Entrepreneur
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6304
  • Lafayette/Broomfield, CO
  • Liked: 2513
  • Likes Given: 844
Re: Horizontal Launch Study
« Reply #20 on: 11/08/2011 01:33 am »
I still like the concept I was noodling last year in the spring involving air launching a partially reusable TSTO off of UAV using Kirk Sorensen's "gamma maneuver" trick.  Basically, at launch, the rocket first stage lights while still attached to the aircraft (liquids are much safer for this than solids), the lift from the aircraft's wings and the thrust of the rocket stage allows the aircraft/rocket stack to pitch up into a good flight path angle (gamma), at which point the rocket "drops" the aircraft off its back.  With the aircraft having lots of lift and suddenly losing lots of weight, separation should be very quick and positive (though you want to make sure the wings can take the loading).  Net result was a significant delta-V improvement over drop-and-light ideas, and you get to verify the rocket engines are lit before you let the rocket go.

Aircraft guys are scared because a) they're afraid of the rocket blowing up and taking out the aircraft (though UAV guys tend to be a little more willing to take risks), b) they're afraid of the dynamics of the separation maneuver, and c) they're afraid of the plume impingement.  If I were independently wealthy, and not in the middle of a startup, I'd love to do a demonstration of the idea using a remote controlled aircraft and an HPR...

~Jon
« Last Edit: 11/08/2011 01:35 am by jongoff »

Offline kfsorensen

  • aerospace and nuclear engineer
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1550
  • Huntsville, AL
    • Flibe Energy
  • Liked: 119
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Horizontal Launch Study
« Reply #21 on: 11/08/2011 02:50 am »
If I were independently wealthy, and not in the middle of a startup, I'd love to do a demonstration of the idea using a remote controlled aircraft and an HPR...

Thanks for the love Jon, as you know, I find myself in the same situation...

Offline jongoff

  • Recovering Rocket Plumber/Space Entrepreneur
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6304
  • Lafayette/Broomfield, CO
  • Liked: 2513
  • Likes Given: 844
Re: Horizontal Launch Study
« Reply #22 on: 11/08/2011 03:18 am »
If I were independently wealthy, and not in the middle of a startup, I'd love to do a demonstration of the idea using a remote controlled aircraft and an HPR...

Thanks for the love Jon, as you know, I find myself in the same situation...

In some ways it's kind of sad this BAA didn't come out exactly 1 year ago.  I probably would've put a proposal in then.  As it is we're too busy making an improvement on one of your other hairbrained ideas work.  :-)

~Jon

Offline john smith 19

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7935
  • Everyplaceelse
  • Liked: 1350
  • Likes Given: 8993
Re: Horizontal Launch Study
« Reply #23 on: 11/08/2011 12:24 pm »
The Minuteman air launch in 1974 had an extracted weight of just over 85,000 lb including the pallet and associated parachutes. The missile itself weighed approximately 70,000 lb.
I stand corrected. It's still quite a bench mark

The key point for me was that now it'd been demonstrated this is *known* to work, rather than *possible*.  Anything that checks off one more piece of the puzzle seemed like a pretty good way to go.


BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structure A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structure booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline sanman

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4603
  • Liked: 717
  • Likes Given: 8
Re: Horizontal Launch Study
« Reply #24 on: 11/09/2011 03:22 am »
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=39015

When they talk about "infrastructure-free" cryogen production, what exactly does that mean? So you'd have equipment for oxygen liquefaction to make LOX while you're flying? Is this efficient? Is the mass penalty for this low?

Do they only mean LOX, or do they mean LH2 also?

Offline simonbp

Re: Horizontal Launch Study
« Reply #25 on: 11/09/2011 07:27 pm »
The air-launched Falcon 1e looked pretty neat; apparently with the right nozzle, you get a 60% improvement in mass to orbit. And, all it requires is a SCA 747, which are going for cheap these days.

Kirk & Jon: I'm trying to mentally picture what sort of UAV you would use for the gamma manoeuver vehicle. A nice big delta-shaped flying wing (low wing loading, slow loaded landing speeds in an emergency, but still controllable at high speeds) would seem good. Having the rocket on top of the wing would help for the landing gear, but would the gamma trick still work?

Offline jongoff

  • Recovering Rocket Plumber/Space Entrepreneur
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6304
  • Lafayette/Broomfield, CO
  • Liked: 2513
  • Likes Given: 844
Re: Horizontal Launch Study
« Reply #26 on: 11/09/2011 11:50 pm »
The air-launched Falcon 1e looked pretty neat; apparently with the right nozzle, you get a 60% improvement in mass to orbit. And, all it requires is a SCA 747, which are going for cheap these days.

Kirk & Jon: I'm trying to mentally picture what sort of UAV you would use for the gamma manoeuver vehicle. A nice big delta-shaped flying wing (low wing loading, slow loaded landing speeds in an emergency, but still controllable at high speeds) would seem good. Having the rocket on top of the wing would help for the landing gear, but would the gamma trick still work?

Methinks I need to do a blog post.

Offline Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11646
  • Liked: 3204
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: Horizontal Launch Study
« Reply #27 on: 01/30/2012 06:51 pm »

Offline simonbp

Re: Horizontal Launch Study
« Reply #28 on: 01/31/2012 04:39 am »
Good find, relevant now in the context of Stratolaunch.

Interesting to see that the RP-1 design is the costliest per performance of the three concepts, with the all-cryo 1x SSME vehicle being the cheapest.
« Last Edit: 01/31/2012 04:40 am by simonbp »

Offline john smith 19

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7935
  • Everyplaceelse
  • Liked: 1350
  • Likes Given: 8993
Re: Horizontal Launch Study
« Reply #29 on: 02/10/2012 03:36 pm »
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=39015

When they talk about "infrastructure-free" cryogen production, what exactly does that mean? So you'd have equipment for oxygen liquefaction to make LOX while you're flying? Is this efficient? Is the mass penalty for this low?

Do they only mean LOX, or do they mean LH2 also?

It's DARPA.

You tell *them* what you mean by it. :)
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structure A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP stainless steel structure booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Tags: