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Originally posted by Kidfinger
I think Nasa should design a completly new system. A new launch system should incorporate the worlds largest Hydro-magnetic rail gun as a launching vehicle. The craft should be reusable and able to fly well in an atmosphere as well as in space. I think the design for the space shuttle was good for the time it was designed in, but now we have so much more technology. My laptop has more computing power than the space shuttle. The craft should probably be like an elongated oval coming to a point on one end woth the other end being wide. This single wing formation is much more durable to the high stresses oand heat of re-entry. And further more, they need to use that 'Fire Paste' made by that crazy inventor as a form of insulation. You know the stuff. One of the secret ingredients is diet coke.
Originally posted by longbow
Hmm i doubt the EM railgun would be the best for reusable vehicle.
The application of mass drivers for lunar launching and for use as reaction engines in orbital transfer has already been studied extensively. However, the possibility of electromagnetic earth-based launching, proposed by science fiction writers since the forties, has never before been considered seriously. On the basis of computer software developed by NASA in connection with the Venus lander, it appears quite practical.
A telephone-pole shaped vehicle 8 inches in diameter and 20 feet in length, weighing 1.5 tonnes, accelerated to 20 km/s at sea level would traverse the 8 km atmosphere in half a second, emerging at 16 km/s, which is enough velocity to escape the solar system. It would lose 3 to 6 percent of its mass by ablation of a carbon shield. Initial projectile energy would be 300 x 10^9 joule, one third of which would be lost in traversing the atmosphere.
The launch energy may seem formidable, but it amounts to only 83 MW-hrs, which represents several minutes of output by a large metropolitan utility plant. The required launcher would be 20 km long at 1,000 g acceleration; it would be only 2 km long, less than a small airport runway, at 10,000 g, which should be easily attainable. Such a launcher could be installed on a hillside, or in a vertical hole made by an oversize rotary well drilling rig.
One potential application is the disposal of nuclear waste. 2,000 tons of waste will be generated between 1980 and 2000. This waste could be launched out of the solar system by using off-peak power from a utility plant at a cost corresponding to only 2 cents per kw-hr of generated power which produced the waste. Considering that the average cost of power during the period will be 22 cents per kw-hr, this waste disposal cost is very low.
Currently, we're in what NASA calls the first of four generations of reusable launch vehicles (RLV). First generation is based mainly on the stalwart of RLVs -- the space shuttle.
With each generation of spacecraft, the space agency hopes to make access to space cheaper, safer and more reliable.
The next three generations and their goals are:
Second generation - 2010
* Increase safety of launch so that a loss of crew is one in 10,000.
* Reduce launch costs from $10,000 per pound to about $1,000.
* RLVs such as the VentureStar or another in development will supplement the shuttle fleet.
A launch site of the future with a reusable launch vehicle on the pad. The launch site would operate much like an airport with maintenance, cargo and passenger facilities.
Third generation - 2025
* Reduce chance of crew loss at launch to one in 1 million.
* Reduce launch costs to hundreds of dollars per pound.
* Spacecraft are likely to be something like the Spaceliner 100.
Fourth generation - 2040
* No difference between a spacecraft and commercial airliner
* Spacecraft are so safe that an escape system is not necessary.
* Advanced propulsion, including lasers, electric, antimatter and plasma
They mothballed the X-33 back in 2001 after years of development and a design that was 85% complete because of a design flaw with the composite tanks, I believe we should go back and examine the design of the tanks.
Originally posted by Sigma
You are right about the box, but sometimes you have to learn the box you are in so you can get out.
As of yet we have no means of "FTL" transportation, nor anti-gravity or even gravity manipulation, so our best bet at the moment is to use innovative concepts based in known concepts in order to get into space. Once we are in space we can concentrate on how to get around the solar system, galaxy and universe.
Realist05- Excellent site! I think I heard about them a long time ago but I forgot about them, thanks for reminding me! I have to say they have one of the best laid out plans I have seen in awhile.
Originally posted by muzzleflash
getting rid of the "wings" is a great idea
the best shape i know of aerodynamically is the "Raindrop"
so lets build a "UFO" type craft that has this "raindrop" shape
did anyone ever see that movie 'flight of the navigator' lol
its just an idea im not an engineer so i dont have any clue how it would work thats for the engineers to figure out