Author Topic: Minuteman III on StratoLaunch (as orbital LV)  (Read 1595 times)

Offline jbenton

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Minuteman III on StratoLaunch (as orbital LV)
« on: 08/01/2018 07:32 pm »
I donít know where to put threads about Stratolaunch, so Iíll just put it here.
So far, Stratolaunch has had difficulty coming up with a reasonably pried rocket that matches the capability of their mega-plane. The current plan is to launch 3 Pegasus-XLs from it, but this is IIRC only a quarter of the planes payload ability.

The USAF wants to retire the Minuteman III by and replace it with the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent.
The Taurus launch vehicle was designed around the Peacekeeper ICBM. Furthermore, the USAF has successfully air launched the Minuteman (albeit an earlier version of it):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air-launched_ballistic_missile#Air_Mobile_Feasibility_test:_C-5_w/_LGM-30

So, I was wondering could they launch all or some of the 3 stages of the 450 Minutemen lying around as part of a low-cost OLV?
Would they be too old, if a few were launched in say, 2025?

What would the performance be if they mixed elements of the Pegasus and the Minuteman? What about all 3 stages of both vehicles (the Pegasus stages mounted on top of the Minuteman stages)
« Last Edit: 08/01/2018 07:33 pm by jbenton »

Offline TripleSeven

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Re: Minuteman III on StratoLaunch (as orbital LV)
« Reply #1 on: 08/01/2018 07:34 pm »
I donít know where to put threads about Stratolaunch, so Iíll just put it here.
So far, Stratolaunch has had difficulty coming up with a reasonably pried rocket that matches the capability of their mega-plane. The current plan is to launch 3 Pegasus-XLs from it, but this is IIRC only a quarter of the planes payload ability.

The USAF wants to retire the Minuteman III by and replace it with the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent.
The Taurus launch vehicle was designed around the Peacekeeper ICBM. Furthermore, the USAF has successfully air launched the Minuteman (albeit an earlier version of it):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air-launched_ballistic_missile#Air_Mobile_Feasibility_test:_C-5_w/_LGM-30

So, I was wondering could they launch all or some of the 3 stages of the 450 Minutemen lying around as part of a low-cost OLV?
Would they be too old, if a few were launched in say, 2025?

What would the performance be if they mixed elements of the Pegasus and the Minuteman? What about all 3 stages of both vehicles (the Pegasus stages mounted on top of the Minuteman stages)

interesting idea, I would have to check the mass...but clever thought

Offline Jim

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Re: Minuteman III on StratoLaunch (as orbital LV)
« Reply #2 on: 08/01/2018 09:00 pm »
I donít know where to put threads about Stratolaunch, so Iíll just put it here.
So far, Stratolaunch has had difficulty coming up with a reasonably pried rocket that matches the capability of their mega-plane. The current plan is to launch 3 Pegasus-XLs from it, but this is IIRC only a quarter of the planes payload ability.

The USAF wants to retire the Minuteman III by and replace it with the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent.
The Taurus launch vehicle was designed around the Peacekeeper ICBM. Furthermore, the USAF has successfully air launched the Minuteman (albeit an earlier version of it):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air-launched_ballistic_missile#Air_Mobile_Feasibility_test:_C-5_w/_LGM-30

So, I was wondering could they launch all or some of the 3 stages of the 450 Minutemen lying around as part of a low-cost OLV?
Would they be too old, if a few were launched in say, 2025?

What would the performance be if they mixed elements of the Pegasus and the Minuteman? What about all 3 stages of both vehicles (the Pegasus stages mounted on top of the Minuteman stages)

The Minuteman stages were not designed to be hung.  The air launch test had the vehicle sitting on cradles inside the aircraft.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Minuteman III on StratoLaunch (as orbital LV)
« Reply #3 on: 08/02/2018 05:16 am »
There's also the law that surplus US government missiles can't be used for commercial missions.
« Last Edit: 08/02/2018 06:05 am by Steven Pietrobon »
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline jbenton

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Re: Minuteman III on StratoLaunch (as orbital LV)
« Reply #4 on: 08/04/2018 08:10 pm »
I donít know where to put threads about Stratolaunch, so Iíll just put it here.
So far, Stratolaunch has had difficulty coming up with a reasonably pried rocket that matches the capability of their mega-plane. The current plan is to launch 3 Pegasus-XLs from it, but this is IIRC only a quarter of the planes payload ability.

The USAF wants to retire the Minuteman III by and replace it with the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent.
The Taurus launch vehicle was designed around the Peacekeeper ICBM. Furthermore, the USAF has successfully air launched the Minuteman (albeit an earlier version of it):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air-launched_ballistic_missile#Air_Mobile_Feasibility_test:_C-5_w/_LGM-30

So, I was wondering could they launch all or some of the 3 stages of the 450 Minutemen lying around as part of a low-cost OLV?
Would they be too old, if a few were launched in say, 2025?

What would the performance be if they mixed elements of the Pegasus and the Minuteman? What about all 3 stages of both vehicles (the Pegasus stages mounted on top of the Minuteman stages)

The Minuteman stages were not designed to be hung.  The air launch test had the vehicle sitting on cradles inside the aircraft.

I hadn't thought about that. I was only thinking about the proven air-start capability. I guess there could be a workaround for that in the form of having a third fuselage under slung as a cargo module to carry the LV and launch it the way Minuteman was launched. That, by the way, was done by parachute:



That would go against Stratolaunch's MO - the idea was to have the LV swandive gracefully like Pegasus or the X-15 - but I see no reason why the aircraft itself couldn't handle it.

I'm not sure the payload would much like the whiplash of being slowed by dragchute and then launched, but I could be wrong about that.

I'm guessing that just mounting a tube, like a giant bazooka would cause more problems than it would solve.

Offline jbenton

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Re: Minuteman III on StratoLaunch (as orbital LV)
« Reply #5 on: 08/04/2018 08:13 pm »
There's also the law that surplus US government missiles can't be used for commercial missions.

They can be used for gov't missions, though.  The Minotaur-series uses obsolete Minuteman II's and Peacemakers.
This idea, of course is only commercially viable if the rules eventually change:

https://spacenews.com/hyten-tries-to-find-sweet-spot-on-surplus-icbm-issue/

https://spacenews.com/op-ed-ending-ban-on-retired-icbms-would-allow-u-s-companies-to-reclaim-small-satellite-launch-market/

https://spacenews.com/op-ed-dumping-excess-boosters-on-market-would-short-circuit-commercial-space-renaissance/

Offline zhangmdev

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Re: Minuteman III on StratoLaunch (as orbital LV)
« Reply #6 on: 08/04/2018 08:50 pm »
What used in the air mobile feasibility test was not a functioning missile.

The air launched targets currently in service, Coleman LRALT, use cradle and chutes to stablize the system before separation and ignition.

http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/app4/sralt.html

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