Author Topic: Sea Dragon class LV thead  (Read 141654 times)

Offline Jim

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #200 on: 12/20/2012 06:04 pm »
However; If this could be made as a reliable TSTO craft that either could have both stages reusable, OR the first stage reusable and use the upper stage as a .5 stage, (Doing Dry-for-wet) as part of either a space station or as a part of a Mars Exploration Vessel, then I think that it would more than justify the cost.


No, it wouldn't.  Reuseability negates the whole idea of Sea dragon.  It is designed to be built cheap and robust, not for reuse.  Also, return of huge stages is unthinkable

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #201 on: 12/20/2012 07:34 pm »
However; If this could be made as a reliable TSTO craft that either could have both stages reusable, OR the first stage reusable and use the upper stage as a .5 stage, (Doing Dry-for-wet) as part of either a space station or as a part of a Mars Exploration Vessel, then I think that it would more than justify the cost.


No, it wouldn't.  Reuseability negates the whole idea of Sea dragon.  It is designed to be built cheap and robust, not for reuse.  Also, return of huge stages is unthinkable
Actually they DID "think" about it, I recall a section of the original report on that subject :) The first stage seemed "doable" but the economics weren't really clear. As I recall, reuse only made "sense" if you had a pretty hefty flight rate which no "normal" case would justify. The conclusin that I recall was that "reuse" was pretty much a non-starter but "salvage" was a very possible set up.

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline RanulfC

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #202 on: 12/20/2012 07:51 pm »
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Note exactly :) See the "problem" is the amount of payload one of these things could lift. Short of a sudden "emergency" colonization program, need for a super asteroid/comet defense system or solar power satillite program the SD is simply too BIG to be viable. It has such a huge payload capabilty that you can't really justify a "viable" use for a single flight, let alone the multiples that the "program" would have required.

It's an "issue" I wish we didn't have, but it is still the main issue with a SDLV type vehicle :)

Not exactly sure I agree with you on this.
You don't have to actually "agree" with me, however both NASA and others pointed out this issue in the discusions and reports on the SeaDragon. Truax never "bought" the arguments but neither as far as I can tell could he actually manage to refute them either. :)

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Yes, the payload, currently, is excessive.  However; If this could be made as a reliable TSTO craft that either could have both stages reusable, OR the first stage reusable and use the upper stage as a .5 stage, (Doing Dry-for-wet) as part of either a space station or as a part of a Mars Exploration Vessel, then I think that it would more than justify the cost.
The payload was ALWAYS "excessive" and while it is possible ot "justify" the cost its a limited launcher without a massive and intensive NEED for materials on-orbit. And even then the projected flight rate was low enough that the costs began to dominate again just as in most "normal" launcher options

Given the right "program" to support the SeaDragon could be made to make "sense" but it utterly depended on HAVING that program to support to even be considered. And that first step simply never came to pass.

I won't say that an SD-class LV won't "ever" happen but the whole case for justifying them hinges on there already being a VERY large market for materials on-orbit to have any chance of competing with current LVs. As is any LD-class vehicle CAN simply fly off the entire worlds "payload" schedule in one flight, yet at the same time it can't actually put each and every one of those payloads where it needs to be. And one-off construction and low flight rates negates the majority of "savings" you're supposed to get from a SeaDragon.

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #203 on: 12/21/2012 01:59 am »
Dang it Randy, unfortunately I find myself mostly in agreement with you.

     With a launcher like the Sea Dragon, unless you WERE to use the upper stage as part of your payload, it would tend to be an expensive throw away that I think would be unjustifiable.
     As either a fuel tank or some sort of habit module, this would work quite well, but something that large, reentering uncontrolled, would prove to be a hazard vastly larger than the Skylab was, and likely larger than the Mir station could have been.  Therefore, setting up at least some sort of lightweight TPS system (cork maybe) with a ballute system to slow it down before impact, (water landing preferred) for salvage and refurbishment, possibly even to the point of melting it down and reforging them from scratch, would be a MUCH better idea tan dropping a 25 story all metal building o someone's head from orbit.

Jason
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Offline go4mars

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #204 on: 10/08/2013 02:23 am »
Several people have mentioned their concern over developing a large rocket engine due to combustion instabilities.  With modern software/analytical tools, is combustion instability still considered a practically insurmountable challenge for developing really big engines?

It's not insurmountable, it's just extremely expensive. We know more than we knew during the days of the F1, but you're still looking at a very test-intensive program to get it right. Models of combustion stability have to take into account the coupled interactions of combustion kinetics, acoustics, and multi-phase fluid mechanics. Models of any one of these are happy to get within 10-20% of the real world values. Computational acoustics in particular is in its infancy.
Is this issue less problematic for very large pintle-injection engines?  How might the challenges be minimized?
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Offline QuantumG

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #205 on: 10/08/2013 02:29 am »
I vaguely remember some arguments that combustion instability becomes easier to solve at Sea Dragon engine sizes.

Would love some references to back up that claim :P
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Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #206 on: 10/08/2013 02:34 pm »
Geez,

     I just had a sick thought.  What if you sacrificed about 30% of your total throw mass for both stages and added landing gear to the stages like on the Reusable Falcon 9?  It COULD be recoverable then, still have a HUGE throw mass, and be reusable.

     But where the heck would you land such a monster?  It'd be like trying to land a 25 story building for each stage!

YEIKES!

     Of course landing one on MARS could prove... Interesting.  A ready, semi insulated structure that could be used dry for wet as a Mars COLONY, not just a Base.  Save any reisidual O2 from the oxidizer tanks, scrub or otherwise neturalize the kerosene from the fule tanks, having already designed in hatchways into the tanks, go inset up gridwork floors and inflate habitat segments per floor, (For further insulation amd privacy) and you have a pretty good Mars colony to start.

Jason
« Last Edit: 10/08/2013 02:42 pm by JasonAW3 »
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Offline gbaikie

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #207 on: 10/09/2013 01:40 am »
Geez,

     I just had a sick thought.  What if you sacrificed about 30% of your total throw mass for both stages and added landing gear to the stages like on the Reusable Falcon 9?  It COULD be recoverable then, still have a HUGE throw mass, and be reusable.

     But where the heck would you land such a monster?  It'd be like trying to land a 25 story building for each stage!

YEIKES!
It takes off from the ocean, it would have to land in the ocean.

Quote
     Of course landing one on MARS could prove... Interesting.  A ready, semi insulated structure that could be used dry for wet as a Mars COLONY, not just a Base.  Save any reisidual O2 from the oxidizer tanks, scrub or otherwise neturalize the kerosene from the fule tanks, having already designed in hatchways into the tanks, go inset up gridwork floors and inflate habitat segments per floor, (For further insulation amd privacy) and you have a pretty good Mars colony to start.

Jason
If we get to point of settling Mars, it would seem a Sea Dragon could become viable.
But we should explore Mars, first.

Offline go4mars

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #208 on: 10/09/2013 04:07 am »
What if you sacrificed about 30% of your total throw mass for both stages and added landing gear to the stages like on the Reusable Falcon 9?  It COULD be recoverable then, still have a HUGE throw mass, and be reusable.

     But where the heck would you land such a monster? 
Texas near the Mexican border I assume. 
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Offline go4mars

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #209 on: 10/09/2013 04:11 am »
I vaguely remember some arguments that combustion instability becomes easier to solve at Sea Dragon engine sizes.

Would love some references to back up that claim :P
I would too, but I'm not sure your references exist.  I should just make an 80 million pound of thrust engine in my garage.  Figure out if combustion stability is easier.  Too many naysayers.  ;D
« Last Edit: 10/09/2013 04:12 am by go4mars »
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Offline QuantumG

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #210 on: 10/09/2013 04:38 am »
Haha.. only cost a few million in fuel for each attempted full duration burn :)
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Offline RanulfC

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #211 on: 10/09/2013 02:20 pm »
Geez,

     I just had a sick thought.  What if you sacrificed about 30% of your total throw mass for both stages and added landing gear to the stages like on the Reusable Falcon 9?  It COULD be recoverable then, still have a HUGE throw mass, and be reusable.

     But where the heck would you land such a monster?  It'd be like trying to land a 25 story building for each stage!

YEIKES!

About the only place possible is the same as where you launched it from: The Ocean. No "landing-gear" needed or wanted :) "Technically" the SD 1st stage was considered "reusable" in some types, not sure how "reasonable" that would be though considering the system as a whole. The upper stage (which was LH2/LOX btw) you'd want to keep in orbit for the metal at the very least. Lots of work to be done on-orbit but lots of "pressuriz-able" space to be had at the same time.

Quote
     Of course landing one on MARS could prove... Interesting.  A ready, semi insulated structure that could be used dry for wet as a Mars COLONY, not just a Base.  Save any reisidual O2 from the oxidizer tanks, scrub or otherwise neturalize the kerosene from the fule tanks, having already designed in hatchways into the tanks, go inset up gridwork floors and inflate habitat segments per floor, (For further insulation amd privacy) and you have a pretty good Mars colony to start.

Jason

Upper stage was planned IIRC as a LH2/LOX stage which would make more sense. Landing it as a horizontal "structure" might be better than doing it vertically as you'd be relativly closer to the ground to work with.

As for testing the engine, fall back and punt, since we're re-building the F1 might as well go with the plug-cluster engine idea :)

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #212 on: 11/20/2013 09:26 pm »
All good points.  But I just noticed a rather odd fact.

     Remember the old , I think it was called the Pioneer Space Station model?  Launched all in one with 3 spoke arms rotating around a common center of gravity?  Would have used old Apollo capsules a tender craft.

     If memory serves, that whole rig was supposidly under 300 tons mass, including a nuclear reactor.  Slap that puppy on top of a Sea Dragon with an additional 150 Tons of fuel (10 ton tankage) a 40 Ton Mars lander, sent up a crew on 2 Dragon Riders and with a Nuclear motor, Mars in 55 days easy.  (Of course you'd sent about 400 tons of habitat, supplies and ERV ahead with 100 tons of fuel to get there, slow boating it).

4 main launches and you have a reusable infrastructure and a Mars colony in one main shot.
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Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #213 on: 11/22/2013 05:44 pm »
ARGH!

          Sorry about that! the model I was thinking of was Pilgrim One.  The thought was to launch it on a Saturn V as the third stage with a stretched second stage to bump it into orbit.

My bad!

Jason
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Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #214 on: 11/22/2013 05:52 pm »
<p>Sorry.</p><p>    You must surround the entire living quarters with shielding that has the same effectiveness as five feet of water in a tank. This requirement should be used for all mass calculations for extremely long duration missions. Lighter elements are more effective per unit mass, so using liquid hydrogen gives the lightest shield. A thin layer of boron-10 would be needed as a neutron absorber.
 
    It is not possible to get away with less shielding, owing to the fact that the incoming cosmic rays have enough energy to create electron-positron pairs. These pairs are called secondary radiation, and they, too, must be stopped. However, these, in turn, create more electron-positron pairs until their energy drops below 1.1 MeV (the minimum energy needed to create an electron-positron pair) (At some point, each positron will annihilate an electron, producing two gamma rays). Because, for a given total energy of ionizing radiation, alpha radiation is more damaging than beta radiation which is more damaging than gamma rays, and lower frequency (longer wavelength) gammas are more damaging than shorter wavelength gammas, a thinner shield would actually be counterproductive, so far as cosmic rays are concerned. </p><p> </p>

          What about the use of mutiple layers of sheilding, using, as an example Polyethel chloride, Boron-10 and water? seperating PEC/Boron-10 sandwich layer with a foot of water to create a large storm shelter of 5 foot thickness of water, 12 layers of PEC and 6 layers of Boron-10?

          Obviously you couldn't provide enough water to completely encapsulate the living quartersb but it could be used as both a storm shelter and possible sleeping area, to reduce overall radiation exposure.

Jason
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Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #215 on: 11/22/2013 06:15 pm »
My question is from a slightly different angle.

It seems we have a history of building "right-sized" rockets, that then suffer weight increases and/or performance shortfalls, then we have to optimize the crap out of them to get the job done.

Is a really big, dumb booster more expensive than all the effort expended on optimization & advanced materials?

Is there harm in overkill?  Granted, if we tried to build something with 30 F-1 engines, now we're hit with high engine expense, and duplicated complexity.

Matt, with 30 engines you run into SIGNIFICANT timing and fuel routing issues.  (An example of this is teh Soviet N-1 moon rocket).

           There are also a couple of significant issues with the Sea Dragon design. (While I am infavor of this design, I am having to play Devil's advocate here for a minute).

          First, it is designed to be launched from the ocean with all shipping and air traffic to be cleared out for at least a five mile radius.  (Not impossible, but difficult)  Should the craft suffer a catostrophic failure during any part of the ascent, it would detonate with the force of a small nuclear weapon and scatter debris over a VERY large area. (The higher it got the larger the area)

          Also, due to the Sea launch set up, it would rove a significant danger to sea life in the immediate vicinity.  (Boiled shark soup with a side of broiled whale anyone?)

          Fueling the first stage with Kerosene would be possible at shore, but should leaks develope, signifcant envionmental damage could occure.

          The noise of such a launch would FAR exceed any OSHA standards and the shockwave over water is likely going to be able to travel a significant distance with little diminimishment.

          Fueling the hydrogen for the second stage and the LOX for both First and Second stage would be very tricky using specialized cryogenics ships, similar to the current LNG tankers.  Even with a dedicated Nuclear Reactor for fuel seperation from sea water and cryogenic cooling of both LOX and Hydrogen, we are talking a significant time to fully fuel such a craft, during which storms could develope endangering both the craft and the ocean vessels.

          Assuming development of large plug nozzle systems for such craft, it MAY be possible to stretch the first stage and eliminate the second stage as plug nozzles tend to reconfigure their exhaust according to atmospheric pressure and do not require a specialized exhaust bell for low or zero pressure environments.  This would also facilitate the recovery of such a craft for reuse, but it would again, endanger sea life where it landed.

          However, even with these issues, I think that this is still a very viable launch system.

Jason
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Offline RanulfC

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #216 on: 11/26/2013 02:37 pm »
My question is from a slightly different angle.

It seems we have a history of building "right-sized" rockets, that then suffer weight increases and/or performance shortfalls, then we have to optimize the crap out of them to get the job done.

Is a really big, dumb booster more expensive than all the effort expended on optimization & advanced materials?

It would "seem" that going for "over-kill" and accepting less would be cheaper but the numbers always end up being dependent on a lot of guess-work and utilization assumptions. Operational assumptions end up driving a lot of the "baseline" assumptions around an LV in the first place. Seadragon is a classic example because while cost per unit but the "minimum" size to get those assumed prices is quite large.

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Is there harm in overkill?  Granted, if we tried to build something with 30 F-1 engines, now we're hit with high engine expense, and duplicated complexity.

Yes there is actually :) If you fly a Seadragon without a full payload you're wasting a lot of money and throwing all the "assumed" operating and such costs out the window. It's very much part of why no one has build a "minimum-cost" design because just like an RLV it needs a certain amount of dedicated launches to actually BE economical :)

Matt, with 30 engines you run into SIGNIFICANT timing and fuel routing issues.  (An example of this is the Soviet N-1 moon rocket).
(Technically somewhere between 45 and 53 engines if using F1B or F1-upgraded motors respecivily for a "full-up" Seadragon, fewer for the Excalibur and "Sub-Caliber" models that NASA thought were STILL to big :))

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           There are also a couple of significant issues with the Sea Dragon design. (While I am infavor of this design, I am having to play Devil's advocate here for a minute).

          First, it is designed to be launched from the ocean with all shipping and air traffic to be cleared out for at least a five mile radius.  (Not impossible, but difficult)  Should the craft suffer a catostrophic failure during any part of the ascent, it would detonate with the force of a small nuclear weapon and scatter debris over a VERY large area. (The higher it got the larger the area)

Part and parcel of the launch plans was that the launch area would be far outside the shipping lanes and pretty damn far from any possible damage should a launch accident occur. Pretty implicit in the studies was that they would be build near the equator and then towed far out to sea for launch.

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          Also, due to the Sea launch set up, it would rove a significant danger to sea life in the immediate vicinity.  (Boiled shark soup with a side of broiled whale anyone?)

Not quite that bad really :) A couple of hand grenades or C4 blocks would scare everything out of the area for the launch though the "area" needed would be quite large still. Active sonar (or playing Justin Bieber through underwater speakers) should help keep the area clear through launch.

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          Fueling the first stage with Kerosene would be possible at shore, but should leaks develope, signifcant envionmental damage could occure.

All propellant loading would take place on-site to avoid off-setting loads while towing the LV, though this does bring up the possibility of "building" an ocean surface launch facility using current deep-ocean platforms to house storage and processing facilities instead of running a fleet of ships for each launch.

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          The noise of such a launch would FAR exceed any OSHA standards and the shockwave over water is likely going to be able to travel a significant distance with little diminimishment.

Actually after the rocket lifts from the water it tends to take a parabolic shape which directs the noise upwards instead of out. Once it gets a couple of hundered feet up though the sound is going to be rather awsome in every meaning of the word :)

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          Fueling the hydrogen for the second stage and the LOX for both First and Second stage would be very tricky using specialized cryogenics ships, similar to the current LNG tankers.  Even with a dedicated Nuclear Reactor for fuel seperation from sea water and cryogenic cooling of both LOX and Hydrogen, we are talking a significant time to fully fuel such a craft, during which storms could develope endangering both the craft and the ocean vessels.

You would tend to launch from the least weather active areas you can find for that very reason. :)

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          Assuming development of large plug nozzle systems for such craft, it MAY be possible to stretch the first stage and eliminate the second stage as plug nozzles tend to reconfigure their exhaust according to atmospheric pressure and do not require a specialized exhaust bell for low or zero pressure environments.  This would also facilitate the recovery of such a craft for reuse, but it would again, endanger sea life where it landed.

The disturbance of the water and noise as the vehicle descends is going to do a great deal to scare off any wildlife in the area with a powered landing. Non-powered you'd want to "land" front-end first and have blown off the forward dome to use the main tank as a water-cushion shock absorber. Given how much more robust the Seadragon class LVs were to be built you probaby wouldn't even bother with parachutes to slow the terminal velocity.

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          However, even with these issues, I think that this is still a very viable launch system.

It really depends on how you use the term "viable" since it still has the major drawback of inability to be used for "incrimental" payloads. I know Truax disparraged the "Sub-Caliber" as not meeting any of the economic goals of the concept while still retaining all the technical challenges and costs of a more "normal" NASA booster but it at least would have been able to meet the more realistic "needs" of the time. I wonder if a "cluster" of Sub/Excaliber vehicles could be used to give a good variable range of payload?

Randy
From The Amazing Catstronaut on the Black Arrow LV:
British physics, old chap. It's undignified to belch flames and effluvia all over the pad, what. A true gentlemen's orbital conveyance lifts itself into the air unostentatiously, with the minimum of spectacle and a modicum of grace. Not like our American cousins' launch vehicles, eh?

Offline go4mars

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #217 on: 12/17/2013 04:23 am »
The nozzle extension: has anything like that been done?

Sea Dragon T-Shirt for alternate reality:

Bringing pusher plates and springs to orbit since 1972.
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Offline go4mars

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #218 on: 02/07/2014 09:05 pm »


This guy briefly outlines some features of Sea Dragon (high level). 
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Offline R7

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Re: Sea Dragon class LV thead
« Reply #219 on: 02/08/2014 01:03 pm »
This guy briefly outlines some features of Sea Dragon (high level).

Nice chap but minor nitpick: he repeats the error in Wikipedia; SeaDragon first stage planned to use methane to pressurize the RP-1 and LOX pressurized itself using heat exchanger. Only TVC engines attached to the second stage would have used nitrogen pressurization for LOX.
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