Author Topic: Shuttle-like downmass capability for an RLV?  (Read 2080 times)

Offline 2552

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Shuttle-like downmass capability for an RLV?
« on: 02/09/2010 12:56 AM »
I wonder how plausible this idea is. Could an RLV such as the Falcon 9's upper stage be modified to bring a module such as an LDEF back to Earth intact? The Falcon 9's upper stage is eventually planned to be recoverable using a simple reentry heatshield and parachutes (probably near the engine, I'll assume that here).

For a module recovery flight, the PLF would not be jettisoned, but be able to open and close like the Shuttle's payload bay doors do. The upper stage would rendezvous with the module, dock/attach to it, close the PLF, deorbit and reenter, deploy parachutes and splashdown.

The way I'm thinking of to make the PLF survive reentry is to move the regular reentry heatshield to the outside of the PLF, shaping the end as needed to fit it and adding attachments that can open and close, with half of them detaching when the PLF opens in orbit, leaving the heatshield attached to the end of the other half of the PLF, and reattaching to secure the heatshield when it closes again for deorbit and reentry. What other mods would be needed to the rest of the stage for this to work, if any? Or is this idea completely impractical and/or I missed something obvious?
« Last Edit: 02/09/2010 01:01 AM by 2552 »

Offline Jim

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Re: Shuttle-like downmass capability for an RLV?
« Reply #1 on: 02/09/2010 02:08 AM »
Impractical.  The stage recovery alone may be practical because of its low density.  However, the extra weight of accommodating the return mass would ripple through the system.   Larger aerosurfaces may be required.

Offline Downix

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Re: Shuttle-like downmass capability for an RLV?
« Reply #2 on: 02/09/2010 02:18 AM »
My thinking is cheap ion drives and inflatable shields combined with parachutes could be sufficient.
chuck - Toilet paper has no real value? Try living with 5 other adults for 6 months in a can with no toilet paper. Man oh man. Toilet paper would be worth it's weight in gold!

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Shuttle-like downmass capability for an RLV?
« Reply #3 on: 02/09/2010 02:21 AM »
I think an inflatable aeroshell and a simple deorbit motor would be the way to go.

http://www.prlog.org/10316724-ilc-dover-celebrates-successful-irve-inflatable-aeroshell-flight-test.html

Offline gospacex

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Re: Shuttle-like downmass capability for an RLV?
« Reply #4 on: 02/09/2010 03:02 AM »
I wonder how plausible this idea is. Could an RLV such as the Falcon 9's upper stage be modified to bring a module such as an LDEF back to Earth intact?

Why bother designing a multi$$$$$$$$billion 25 ton downmass craft if one astronaut can disassemble an LDEF into a dozen parts (provided it is from the start designed to be disassembled), which then can be returned piecemeal?

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Shuttle-like downmass capability for an RLV?
« Reply #5 on: 02/09/2010 03:16 AM »
Should a spacecraft that allows 50 - 100 people to fly on a HLV be made this could be modified for heavy cargo down mass.  Take the chairs and passenger life support out.  Load the object through the roof hatch and fly it back.

Offline 2552

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Re: Shuttle-like downmass capability for an RLV?
« Reply #6 on: 02/09/2010 03:22 AM »
I wonder how plausible this idea is. Could an RLV such as the Falcon 9's upper stage be modified to bring a module such as an LDEF back to Earth intact?

Why bother designing a multi$$$$$$$$billion 25 ton downmass craft if one astronaut can disassemble an LDEF into a dozen parts (provided it is from the start designed to be disassembled), which then can be returned piecemeal?

I know it would be expensive and rarely used, I was just curious if it was possible and how.

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