Author Topic: AFRL project 'Rocket Cargo'  (Read 34892 times)

Offline docmordrid

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Re: AFRL project 'Rocket Cargo'
« Reply #120 on: 03/17/2024 01:33 pm »
Should be clear that at least one of the conops they're interested in is dropping cargo in midair.

This begs a lot of questions, though:

1) Drop from what altitude?

2) Drop at what speed?

3) What happens to the Starship?  Does it dispose of itself, or fly on to a good landing elsewhere?

I'm still interested in the case where some of the cargo is air-to-ground or air-to-ship missiles.  But that requires answering questions #1 and #2 as "really high" and "really fast".

A partial answer to 2 may be in the space news article about Sierra Space developing a point-to-point entry vehicle to be deployed from orbit - a dropship named Ghost. They're only talking about 700 kg capacity, but I would imagine that's adjustable. The idea is the concept is on the table.

https://spacenews.com/sierra-space-developing-dual-use-spacecraft-with-military-potential/

Quote
Sierra Space is also developing a return capsule that can transport cargo from space and land safely back on Earth. In partnership with the U.S. Transportation Command, the company is studying how this vehicle could enable quick point-to-point delivery of supplies and equipment to support military operations or humanitarian relief efforts around the globe.
DM

Offline RON_P

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Re: AFRL project 'Rocket Cargo'
« Reply #121 on: 03/20/2024 08:50 pm »
AFRL project Rocket Cargo FY25 budget proposal .
Page 283/Volume 1 - 215

https://www.saffm.hq.af.mil/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=D266mM0zhFg%3d&portalid=84

Quote
Title: Rocket Cargo
Description: The Vanguard, Rocket Cargo, is an S&T effort to leverage the multi-billion dollars of commercial investments in
large reusable launch vehicles to extend the commercial rocket capabilities and create a novel DOD solution for global reach.
DAF S&T efforts and resources are focused on the specific areas that are unique to military transport applications. The S&T
objective is to determine the viability, performance, military utility, and business case of the commercial rocket capability. Potential
investigation activities will include detailed mission and cost analyses, investigation of the harsh rocket plume interactions with
landing surfaces, evaluation of rocket landing capabilities at austere sites, and human factors at landing sites. Investments
will also determine the ability to airdrop cargo after reentry, will assess in-flight communications to the rocket, will test cargo
environments and novel cargo "loadmaster” designs for rapid load/unload, and will evaluate rocket detectability and vulnerability.
FY 2024 Plans:
Continue multi-disciplinary S&T to expand commercial rocket capabilities for DOD global cargo delivery on tactical timelines.
Continue investigations of rocket landing viability over a broader range of unprepared sites and non-standard landing surfaces relevant to rocket delivery directly to the point of need, including landing pad material surface degradation and human factors
at the landing site. Continue to leverage commercial full-scale rocket engine tests on concrete and other terrains to update
computational simulations and predict landing surface degradation for DOD operations. Complete airdrop S&T on container
freefall aerodynamics and stability through wind tunnel experiments to anchor computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models. Initiate
new airdrop S&T on the high-speed separation physics for airdrop payload ejection from the rocket, including new wind tunnel
capabilities. Continue to leverage commercial rocket ground testing and commercial rocket flights to determine rocket cargo
environments and performance, specifically to including 2nd stage rocket reentry and landing maneuvers that are unique to rocket
delivery of 30 to 100 tons cargo. Initiate new design tasks for a scheduled FY25 demonstration launch to transport 30 to 100
tons of cargo to an austere site. Initiate experiments of in-flight communications to the rocket during all phases of flight, including
hypersonic reentry. Continue quantitative S&T assessment of the rocket detectability and vulnerability, anchored with rocket flight
data, to determine implications for military missions; incorporate these details into detailed mission analysis and the capability
return on investment. Continue development of mission planning tools for tactical cargo delivery timelines. Initiate testing of rapid
cargo load/unload capabilities with DOD partners and optimize these for tactical timelines and the DOD logistics mission set.
FY 2025 Plans:
- Continue multi-disciplinary S&T to expand commercial rocket capabilities for DOD global cargo delivery on tactical timelines
- Continue investigations of rocket landing viability over a broader range of unprepared sites and non-standard landing surfaces
relevant to rocket delivery directly to the point of need, including landing pad material surface degradation and human factors at
the landing site
- Complete leveraging of commercial full-scale rocket engine tests on concrete and other terrains to update computational
simulations and predict landing surface degradation for DOD operations
- Complete airdrop S&T on the high-speed separation physics for airdrop container ejection from the rocket, including wind tunnel
capabilities
- Initiate airdrop S&T on the payload mid-air system deployment capabilities from an airdropped container
- Continue to leverage commercial rocket ground testing and commercial rocket flights to determine rocket cargo environments
and performance, specifically to include 2nd stage rocket reentry and landing maneuvers that are unique to rocket delivery of 30
to 100 tons cargo
- Complete design tasks for a scheduled FY25 demonstration launch to transport 30 to 100 tons of cargo to an austere site
- Initiate tasks for flight readiness and delivery site CONOPS for a demonstration launch to transport 30 to 100 tons of cargo to an
austere site
- Continue experiments of in-flight communications to the rocket during all phases of flight, including hypersonic reentry
- Continue quantitative S&T assessment of the rocket detectability and vulnerability, anchored with rocket flight data, to determine
implications for military missions; incorporate these details into detailed mission analysis and the capability return on investment
- Continue development of mission planning tools for tactical cargo delivery timelines - Continue testing of rapid cargo load/unload capabilities with DOD partners and optimize these for tactical timelines and the DoD
logistics mission set
FY 2024 to FY 2025 Increase/Decrease Statement:
FY 2025 funding increased compared to FY 2024 by $12.000 million. This funding increase is due to initiation of flight readiness
and delivery site readiness tasks for a scheduled FY25-26 demonstration launch. Additionally, initiation of new airdrop S&T
on payload mid-air system deployment capabilities from an airdropped container, including wind tunnel test campaigns and
computational simulations.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: AFRL project 'Rocket Cargo'
« Reply #122 on: 03/20/2024 09:42 pm »
AFRL project Rocket Cargo FY25 budget proposal .
Page 283/Volume 1 - 215

https://www.saffm.hq.af.mil/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=D266mM0zhFg%3d&portalid=84

<snip>

Have reformatted @RON_P's wall of text version to a more readable version of the Project Rocket Cargo FY25 budget proposal.



Title: Rocket Cargo


Description: The Vanguard, Rocket Cargo, is an S&T effort to leverage the multi-billion dollars of commercial investments in large reusable launch vehicles to extend the commercial rocket capabilities and create a novel DOD solution for global reach.

DAF S&T efforts and resources are focused on the specific areas that are unique to military transport applications.

The S&T objective is to determine the viability, performance, military utility, and business case of the commercial rocket capability.

Potential investigation activities will include detailed mission and cost analyses, investigation of the harsh rocket plume interactions with landing surfaces, evaluation of rocket landing capabilities at austere sites, and human factors at landing sites.

Investments will also determine the ability to airdrop cargo after reentry, will assess in-flight communications to the rocket, will test cargo environments and novel cargo "loadmaster” designs for rapid load/unload, and will evaluate rocket detectability and vulnerability.


FY 2024 Plans:

Continue multi-disciplinary S&T to expand commercial rocket capabilities for DOD global cargo delivery on tactical timelines.

Continue investigations of rocket landing viability over a broader range of unprepared sites and non-standard landing surfaces relevant to rocket delivery directly to the point of need, including landing pad material surface degradation and human factors at the landing site.

Continue to leverage commercial full-scale rocket engine tests on concrete and other terrains to update computational simulations and predict landing surface degradation for DOD operations.

Complete airdrop S&T on container freefall aerodynamics and stability through wind tunnel experiments to anchor computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models.

Initiate new airdrop S&T on the high-speed separation physics for airdrop payload ejection from the rocket, including new wind tunnel capabilities.

Continue to leverage commercial rocket ground testing and commercial rocket flights to determine rocket cargo environments and performance, specifically to including 2nd stage rocket reentry and landing maneuvers that are unique to rocket delivery of 30 to 100 tons cargo.

Initiate new design tasks for a scheduled FY25 demonstration launch to transport 30 to 100 tons of cargo to an austere site.

Initiate experiments of in-flight communications to the rocket during all phases of flight, including hypersonic reentry.

Continue quantitative S&T assessment of the rocket detectability and vulnerability, anchored with rocket flight data, to determine implications for military missions; incorporate these details into detailed mission analysis and the capability return on investment.

Continue development of mission planning tools for tactical cargo delivery timelines.

Initiate testing of rapid cargo load/unload capabilities with DOD partners and optimize these for tactical timelines and the DOD logistics mission set.


FY 2025 Plans:

- Continue multi-disciplinary S&T to expand commercial rocket capabilities for DOD global cargo delivery on tactical timelines

- Continue investigations of rocket landing viability over a broader range of unprepared sites and non-standard landing surfaces relevant to rocket delivery directly to the point of need, including landing pad material surface degradation and human factors at the landing site

- Complete leveraging of commercial full-scale rocket engine tests on concrete and other terrains to update computational simulations and predict landing surface degradation for DOD operations

- Complete airdrop S&T on the high-speed separation physics for airdrop container ejection from the rocket, including wind tunnel capabilities

- Initiate airdrop S&T on the payload mid-air system deployment capabilities from an airdropped container

- Continue to leverage commercial rocket ground testing and commercial rocket flights to determine rocket cargo environments and performance, specifically to include 2nd stage rocket reentry and landing maneuvers that are unique to rocket delivery of 30
to 100 tons cargo

- Complete design tasks for a scheduled FY25 demonstration launch to transport 30 to 100 tons of cargo to an austere site

- Initiate tasks for flight readiness and delivery site CONOPS for a demonstration launch to transport 30 to 100 tons of cargo to an austere site

- Continue experiments of in-flight communications to the rocket during all phases of flight, including hypersonic reentry

- Continue quantitative S&T assessment of the rocket detectability and vulnerability, anchored with rocket flight data, to determine implications for military missions; incorporate these details into detailed mission analysis and the capability return on investment

- Continue development of mission planning tools for tactical cargo delivery timelines

- Continue testing of rapid cargo load/unload capabilities with DOD partners and optimize these for tactical timelines and the DoD logistics mission set


FY 2024 to FY 2025 Increase/Decrease Statement:

FY 2025 funding increased compared to FY 2024 by $12.000 million. This funding increase is due to initiation of flight readiness and delivery site readiness tasks for a scheduled FY25-26 demonstration launch.

Additionally, initiation of new airdrop S&T on payload mid-air system deployment capabilities from an airdropped container, including wind tunnel test campaigns and computational simulations.
« Last Edit: 03/21/2024 02:23 pm by Zed_Noir »

Offline OTV Booster

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Re: AFRL project 'Rocket Cargo'
« Reply #123 on: 03/22/2024 11:10 pm »
Should be clear that at least one of the conops they're interested in is dropping cargo in midair.

This begs a lot of questions, though:

1) Drop from what altitude?

2) Drop at what speed?

3) What happens to the Starship?  Does it dispose of itself, or fly on to a good landing elsewhere?

I'm still interested in the case where some of the cargo is air-to-ground or air-to-ship missiles.  But that requires answering questions #1 and #2 as "really high" and "really fast".
At what altitude and speed? Those are probably the first two questions a pilot program will address. Once they have an understanding of the range of these two questions they'll have a sense of trades they have available for post delivery ops.


For weapons delivery, yes, high and fast. I'd guess an entire 'third stage' cargo bay sized package with EDL capability ejected above sensible atmosphere.


This last might be best for both cargo and weapons but in no case do I see the ship pooping out standard cargo containers.
We are on the cusp of revolutionary access to space. One hallmark of a revolution is that there is a disjuncture through which projections do not work. The thread must be picked up anew and the tapestry of history woven with a fresh pattern.

Online StraumliBlight

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Re: AFRL project 'Rocket Cargo'
« Reply #124 on: 06/24/2024 10:09 pm »
U.S. Space Command sees promise in rocket cargo initiative

Quote
While enthusiastic about the program’s potential, Whiting acknowledged that operational details remain undecided. “We haven’t entered into a discussion yet about who would be responsible for operating that,” he noted, adding that he plans to discuss the program further with U.S. Transportation Command leaders this summer.

Whiting emphasized that commercial developments will play a crucial role in shaping the program’s future. “Let’s let the demonstrations continue. And as we start to build out an operational concept that would make sense for the nation, then we can have the discussion of where that’s gonna go, who’s gonna have responsibility for it,” he said.

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