Author Topic: X-34: Why was it cancelled and where is the vehicle today?  (Read 48729 times)

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: X-34: Why was it cancelled and where is the vehicle today?
« Reply #40 on: 11/25/2010 01:43 pm »
I thought the X-34 was supposed to be air dropped. Am I incorrect?
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Offline Danderman

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Re: X-34: Why was it cancelled and where is the vehicle today?
« Reply #41 on: 11/25/2010 02:30 pm »
Yep, the requirement for the X-34 engine to fire horizontally stems from the plan for X-34 to be air-dropped.

As a historical trivial note, I can recall seeing an executive at Orbital once give a presentation where they were discussing using the X-34, or a close derivative, as a SpaceShipTwo type passenger carrier. I believe that the claim was that an X-34 carrier could send 14 people into space.

Perhaps there is a reason for X-34 to be revived that has not yet been suggested here.

Offline vt_hokie

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Re: X-34: Why was it cancelled and where is the vehicle today?
« Reply #42 on: 11/25/2010 06:35 pm »
As a historical trivial note, I can recall seeing an executive at Orbital once give a presentation where they were discussing using the X-34, or a close derivative, as a SpaceShipTwo type passenger carrier.

I believe that the SpaceDev DreamChaser was originally supposed to be an X-34 based suborbital vehicle.

Offline brtbrt

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Re: X-34: Why was it cancelled and where is the vehicle today?
« Reply #43 on: 11/26/2010 06:07 pm »
As a historical trivial note, I can recall seeing an executive at Orbital once give a presentation where they were discussing using the X-34, or a close derivative, as a SpaceShipTwo type passenger carrier.

I believe that the SpaceDev DreamChaser was originally supposed to be an X-34 based suborbital vehicle.

You might be thinking about the original mid-90's much larger X-34. The current one has neither the mass fraction (roughly 3) nor the payload bay to carry anything much past Mach 8, let alone into orbit.

The latter problem MIGHT be able to be addressed by moving things out of a hull section just forward of the forward tank: the electronics forward towards the bow and the helium pressure bottles into the wings, thus opening it up for more payload.

But even so, it'll be hard to fit more than one suited rider + pressure hull +  ECLSS, let alone more than that. It's a huge redesign, but might have been worth it even though the mass fraction would get worse, and g*d only know what that would do to CG and thermal.

Having said that, I still think the X-34 would be a great VTHL suborbital vehicle.

I tried raising cash to convert the existing birds earlier this year. But alas without me getting custody of the vehicles, nobody was buying. And other folks, with actual cash in hand and therefore the ability to do something, wanted them too. C'est la vie.

Offline martin hegedus

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Re: X-34: Why was it cancelled and where is the vehicle today?
« Reply #44 on: 11/26/2010 07:04 pm »
As a historical trivial note, I can recall seeing an executive at Orbital once give a presentation where they were discussing using the X-34, or a close derivative, as a SpaceShipTwo type passenger carrier.

I believe that the SpaceDev DreamChaser was originally supposed to be an X-34 based suborbital vehicle.

You might be thinking about the original mid-90's much larger X-34. The current one has neither the mass fraction (roughly 3) nor the payload bay to carry anything much past Mach 8, let alone into orbit.

The latter problem MIGHT be able to be addressed by moving things out of a hull section just forward of the forward tank: the electronics forward towards the bow and the helium pressure bottles into the wings, thus opening it up for more payload.

But even so, it'll be hard to fit more than one suited rider + pressure hull +  ECLSS, let alone more than that. It's a huge redesign, but might have been worth it even though the mass fraction would get worse, and g*d only know what that would do to CG and thermal.

Having said that, I still think the X-34 would be a great VTHL suborbital vehicle.

I tried raising cash to convert the existing birds earlier this year. But alas without me getting custody of the vehicles, nobody was buying. And other folks, with actual cash in hand and therefore the ability to do something, wanted them too. C'est la vie.

Any luck getting the geometry files or aerodynamic database?  I'm thinking it would be fun, if permissible, to include this as an example for my Aero Troll tool. (www.hegedusaero.com/software)  At the moment I'm creating a simple arbitrary body modeler component for it and NASA Ames and PDAS has given me the green light to include PANAIR with the tool.  Next I need to check with Open Channel Foundation.  Haven't started calling around yet in regards to X-34 data but any experience or thoughts you are willing to share would be helpful.  Thanks.

Offline tnphysics

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Re: X-34: Why was it cancelled and where is the vehicle today?
« Reply #45 on: 11/26/2010 08:11 pm »
Could it have an upper stage bolted so the X-34 could be a first stage of a TSTO?

Offline yinzer

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Re: X-34: Why was it cancelled and where is the vehicle today?
« Reply #46 on: 11/26/2010 09:16 pm »
That was the plan for the mid-90s X-34 people are talking about.  I don't think there's anywhere to really bolt the upper stage on the current X-34.
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Offline Jester

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Offline kevin-rf

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Re: X-34: Why was it cancelled and where is the vehicle today?
« Reply #48 on: 11/27/2010 02:06 pm »
If that is true, does that mean this thread will have to move to the comercial section of NSF? ;)
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Offline iamlucky13

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Re: X-34: Why was it cancelled and where is the vehicle today?
« Reply #49 on: 11/30/2010 01:30 am »
http://gizmodo.com/5699838/the-real-story-behind-nasas-resurrected-space-plane

In other words, he knows of no definite plans, but has some fun ideas to speculate on.

Offline kevin-rf

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« Last Edit: 12/01/2010 06:07 pm by kevin-rf »
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Offline simonbp

Quote
Although originally conceived as a testbed for the reusable Fastrac engine designed and developed by NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Ala., the vehicle is appropriately sized for the hybrid nitrous oxide, hydroxy-terminated polybutadiene-fueled rocket engine planned for the Dream Chaser.

Well, that brings us full circle! :)

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: X-34: Why was it cancelled and where is the vehicle today?
« Reply #52 on: 12/01/2010 07:43 pm »
The hybrid might be the cheapest since they might be able to get away with a standard SS2 or DreamChaser engine for early tests.
Huh?  The airframe is not designed for a hybrid. 
How many times does it have to be said that these systems are not Lego pieces.

Quote
Although originally conceived as a testbed for the reusable Fastrac engine designed and developed by NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Ala., the vehicle is appropriately sized for the hybrid nitrous oxide, hydroxy-terminated polybutadiene-fueled rocket engine planned for the Dream Chaser.

Well, that brings us full circle! :)

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Offline Jim

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Re: X-34: Why was it cancelled and where is the vehicle today?
« Reply #53 on: 12/01/2010 08:03 pm »
They are "studying" it.  It doesn't mean it is feasible.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: X-34: Why was it cancelled and where is the vehicle today?
« Reply #54 on: 12/01/2010 08:04 pm »
I'll predict, if they go this route it will end up costing more than building a new airframe from scratch. So in the end Jim will be right ;)

Edit: Darn, Jim beat me to the punch...
« Last Edit: 12/01/2010 08:05 pm by kevin-rf »
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Offline Zond

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Re: X-34: Why was it cancelled and where is the vehicle today?
« Reply #55 on: 01/11/2012 06:28 pm »
Anybody know the current status of he X-34's? Are they currently planning to do something with the prototypes?

There are some nice pics of the X-34's at the Orbital apron at mojave airport. http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1419436
And you can see them in google maps images: Orbital apron

Offline simonbp

Yeah, just hanging out with Stargazer, shooting the breeze...

Offline Prober

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Re: X-34: Why was it cancelled and where is the vehicle today?
« Reply #57 on: 01/12/2012 12:38 am »
Yeah, just hanging out with Stargazer, shooting the breeze...

I've been researching the X-37 programs and some crossover with the X-34 is there.

1) The program ended long before the X-37
2) The Orbital H2O2 engine program ran into some issues.  The docs are not real clear if the fixes were made.   Atm looks like the plug was pulled before, but I can be wrong.

Engine test video: 
http://sscfreedom.ssc.nasa.gov/etd/MPGs/H2O2_USFE_Seq_01.mpg
« Last Edit: 01/12/2012 12:44 am by Prober »
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Offline Danderman

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Re: X-34: Why was it cancelled and where is the vehicle today?
« Reply #58 on: 05/30/2012 05:37 pm »
As it is today.

Online Blackstar

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Re: X-34: Why was it cancelled and where is the vehicle today?
« Reply #59 on: 05/30/2012 10:00 pm »
As it is today.

I thought the two of these things were in a hangar?

I know someone who is writing a book about the X-34.

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