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Stage-to-orbit craft+ ats design help

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posted on Aug, 12 2006 @ 04:06 PM
hey guys,
every since the x-prize came out i been hammering out the concept of a 3stage to orbit craft in my little brain and i would like to see what u all think of it and mabby 1 or 2 of you nifty CAD types can mabby draw it up for me.
i DONT have any sort of Edumacation to speak off, and im the worst speller this side of fort smith.
that being said heres a few things to consider;
1) any craft Must be reuseable
( this means what goes up, comes down, gets refuled and safty checked -turnaround time- and up she goes again )
2) must be able to land on any runway serveing Most nations on the earth
( any international comerical / milatary runway )
3) must NOT use cyrogenic fuels
( the storage systems alone would destroy anyviable plan for any comerical venture at most if not all international airports due to safty hazerds )
4) must carrry people
( while i have no racial disrespects for robots, mice, dogs, or monkey's, not takeing joe and his son up into space defetes the intent of this venture )
5) Must have a LOW cost per pound price
6) must have that cool factor cause.. u know.. we want people to look at it and say wow... now THats Cool !!

heres is some of the things kicking around in my head.
1) Lifting body with a double delta wing set
goal here would be a 12-1 glide path
2) 3 stage to orbit
1st stage ( runway to 150,000 feet ) - goal of mach 2.5

2nd stage ( 150,000 feet and up ) - goal of mach 15
( there would be 2 boosters on the craft mounted in a sliding male/ female system. they would be removed After the craft landed and replaced during the turn around operation.

3rs stage ( 150 miles + ) - goal of 18,500 mph
( this rocket system would provide all space thrusting applacations with the goal of putitng the craft into a LEO orbit.)

3) Fuels
stage 1
stage 2
solid booster system
stage 3
im thinking Jp-7 since we would need it anyways and as a catalist going with
ive read reports on this being used before.. mabby a possability ??

4) im thinking it should be around the size of a 727 airliner, would have to min max everything but the goal here IS to put people into space. cargo can always go on a simple boosting system but people tend to be a tad bit more fragial.
so im thinking 40 people + crew considering the size of a 727 i dont think this would be to hard to fit in

5) kool factor ??
look at the sonic cruiser boeing was considering. going from that and adding more of a lifting body and a double delta wing set with the goal of a 12-1 glide path and u can see where im going in my noodle.

( and u simply got to have a dancing hula girl on the flight dash for the style points )

input anybody ???
thanks for reading

[edit on 12-8-2006 by dreamerft]

[edit on 12-8-2006 by dreamerft]

posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 02:47 AM
/tap tap
im new i tell ya 8((

posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 03:17 PM
Well, I'm no rocket scientist, but it seems to me that you've got some competing/contradictory requirements for craft you're proposing. The requirements you're laying out are:

1) reusability
2) ability to land at a conventional runway
3) no cyrogenic fuel or oxidizer
4) man-rated
5) a low cost per pound
6) "that cool factor"

From your post it seems that you're proposing a White Knight/SpaceShip One arrangement, where a carrier aircraft takes off from a runway and launches the space craft at altitude. This craft would then return to the original airfield for processing, re-fueling, and another takeoff. It is important to remember that SpaceShip One was a suborbital craft. It only went up to just over 100 km altitude. Actually getting the craft into orbit would have required 30 times as much energy as getting it to 100 km (as noted at the source above), and SS1 was only capable of carrying 2 people, not the 40 you propose in your design.

So I think you need to nail down your specifications a bit. Lose the "cool factor" - a design's final form should follow its function. Man rating is more of a reliability issue than a basic design factor, so ignore it for now. And, as discussed above, an orbital craft following the SS1 launch model is probably not realistic - your carrier aircraft would have to be huge, you would need a powerful, likely cryogenic and non-reusable, 2nd stage, etc. It might be possible, but it isn't practical. You're left with three factors:

1) reusability
2) no cyrogenic fuel or oxidizer
3) a low cost per pound

Reusability is possible, and might even be practical, for conventionally launched rockets. Are you aware of a company called SpaceX? They're developing multi-stage launch systems where the first and, hopefully, second stages of the rocket will be reusable. They're at the bleeding edge of technology today, but it is probably possible. If you recover the first and second stages of your craft, and include the 3rd stage (if needed) in the craft itself, you would be able to recover every stage of your launch vehicle.

Not using cryogenic fuel or oxidizer in your design is probably impractical as well. Storable fuels tend to be either too toxic (
N204 and Hydrazine) or not powerful enough (the rubber/nitrous oxide used on SS1) for what you are proposing. Have you considered the RP-1/LOX mix used on the Saturn series for their first stages? Rocket-grade kerosene is liquid at room temperature, and liquid oxygen is not nearly as cryogenic as liquid H2, mitigating some of your storage problems. In addition there are many types of rocket engines currently available which burn an RP-1/LOX mix, including the RD-180 used on the Atlas V, which has thus far been a very reliable rocket.

Low cost is partially a function of flight frequency. If you fly a great deal, your cost per launch decreases dramatically.

If you're interested in talking with some knowledgeable amateaurs - and some genuine rocket scientists, including several involved in the Shuttle program - check out the message boards. There are many informed posters there, including many with little formal education but a genuine love of all things space-related. Concepts like yours usually find a home in the Space Business & Technology forum.

Note: Edited for spelling.
[edit on 13-8-2006 by PhloydPhan]

[edit on 13-8-2006 by PhloydPhan]

posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 11:42 PM
there would be no carrior craft.
it would use twin mounted Ram-jets to lift off of the runway and to go to 100,000 + feet.
it Might have to refuel in air but i would not think that would be to much of a concern.
the fuel conserns are simple.
i would Like the aero-spike rockets to be able to use the same fuel as the ram-jets ( + the o2 ) to limit the fuel storage concerns.
and i would like some fuel left over for the return flight
( reason being is the shuttle only has somethng like a 12 degree margen of error on its return, so being able to have some powered flight ability Greatly enhances the locations this craft could return to.)

i know of the spaceshipOne concept and while it is Kool that it happened i find it inpractical.
But that same craft proves the 2nd stage of my concept.
did u know that bricks can fly ?? ask any pilot of a phantom and they will tell you the same 8)
the 2 solid boosters the shuttle uses are 2.5 million lbs of thrust each for a total of 5 million lbs of thrust.
the Vary basic rule of thought to follow is the 3g rule. IF u can thrust an object that can thrust its self at 3g it Will end up in space 8)
so a 1 pound object would need 3 lbs of thrust x time = orbital insertion.
while a 100,000,000 million pound object would need 300,000,000 lbs of thrust x time ( thrusting ) = orbital insertion.
so if my concept craft had a mass of 1 million pounds of thrust ( and it wont But lets say) then the Vary same boosters the shuttle uses would give it a 5g thrust = Way more than enough.
if we could use the boosters in the way im thinking they would simply be removed and replaced at the lauch/landing centers the craft was servicing.

[edit on 13-8-2006 by dreamerft]

posted on Aug, 14 2006 @ 06:18 AM
Sorry about the misunderstanding; I thought you were going for an SS1-style launch infrastructure. But I still see some problems with your concept.

\Ram-Jets: They don't give any notable thrust until they're traveling at about 600 miles per hour. What you're really talking about is a turbo-ramjet akin to the Pratt & Whitney J58's used on the SR-71. Ramjets are usually attractive because they're dirt-simple; with J58's you lose this simplicity.

You're also ignoring the advantages of an Aerospike Engine by limiting the use of that engine to above 100,000 feet (unless I'm misunderstanding you again). Aerospikes are attractive because they are usually more fuel-efficient across a wider range of altitudes than traditional rocket engines.

Air-start of a Shuttle SRB like you seem to be proposing is a no-go. Not only do the weigh in at 1,300,000 lbs (that's 650 tons) EACH, that 3,300,000 lb/feet of thrust kicks in all at once. You'd destroy your spacecraft as soon as you lit them off. In addition, the SRBs are designed to run up to an altitude of about 220,000 feet before they drop off. Running them only above 100,000 feet kills almost half of their useful altitude. I don't know myself, but I'd wager that running them above 220,000 feet would require some modification of the internal arrangement of the solid fuel, which is what gives them so much thrust in the first place.

As in my above post, I'm not saying that all of what you propose is impossible (although, frankly, some of it seems to be). What I AM saying is that you seem to be running a mish-mash of components in a needlessly complicated way, and while it might technically be possible, there is no way that developing the kind of vehicle you propose would be cheap enough to offer John and Jane Public affordable, reliable access to space.

posted on Aug, 14 2006 @ 02:18 PM
so yer saying to do away with the ram jets and stick with just aero-spike rockets then.
the srb's would naturly be remade for this craft but they proved and example only and would provide awesom amounts of thrust.
mabby ignite then at 10,000 feet then to concerve fuel to the aero spikes.
i really dont think we would need more than a total of 5 g thrust with both srb's and aero spikes burning at the same time.
in fact i think if we could nail down a nice long duration 3g thrust then all = good.
what yer after really is velocity really, the goal being around 18k mph.
if the areo spikes could give us that goal without any other systems involved then thats the way to go.
would have to look into the fuel connsumption facts on the aero spike, see how much fuel would be needed for a flat out burn of (xxx ) for a craft massing (yyy)

another thing to think about is this would be the gen 1 craft.
gen 2+ would be made in orbit useing zero g gas injection molding systems to Drasticly cut down the over all mass of any craft mad on the earth.

posted on Aug, 16 2006 @ 08:51 PM
I'd certainly do away with the ram jets. Sticking with an Aerospike Engine is up to you - its your design, after all, I'm just adding constructive criticism. But keep in mind that Aerospikes are a relatively cutting-edge technology. They're not the kind of thing you can buy off the shelf - in fact, there is no commercially available Aerospike Engines available at all. You're looking at some serious dollars being spent on research and development, especially if you're looking to stay away from Liquid Hydrogen, as the largest aerospike that I'm aware of, the XRS-2200 Linear Aerospike that NASA researched for the X-33 program, ran on an LH2/LOX mix.

I still think you're missing the point of using SRBs. They're big, they're heavy, and they make a lot of thrust, which is why they're always lit off on the ground. They provide your rocket with a good deal of initial thrust and then fall off. Lugging them up to 10,000 feet or any other altitude and then lighting them will only waste the fuel and oxidizer needed to drag them up that far. If you go the SRB route, light them, use them, and drop them.

A couple other things for you to keep in mind:
1) Re-reading your posts, it seems like the vehicle you're describing is a Single-Stage to Orbit (SSTO) vehicle, except for the inclusion of some sort of Solid Rocket Booster - that is, you plan to use a single stage plus SRB's to go all the way to orbit, then return. If you're not already aware of NASA's X-33 program, I'd read up on it. NASA invested approximately $912 Million, and Lockheed-Martin another $357 Million, before both parties decided that what they were attempting just couldn't be done using the technology available in 2001. Of course, the technology involved - especially in the area of composite materials - has matured in the last 5 years, but you're still looking at an astronomical investment to get a project like this off the ground. Sure, you could build it, but what customer could afford to fly in it? Keep it simple, use readily available rocket engines (at least as rocket engines go) like the RD-180 on the Atlas V or its big brother, the RD-171 off the Zenit, and stick with RP-1/LOX for fuel and oxidizer.

2) Keep in mind that the Space Shuttle, which currently holds the record for the maximum number of astronauts launched by a single vehicle, usually carries only 7 astronauts; the most ever carried was 8, aboard STS 61-A. Launching 40 astronauts aboard a 727-sized space plane is just not a realistic first step. Staying along those same lines, however, check out what the European Space Agency (ESA) was proposing in the late 80's/early 90's with their Hermes Shuttle. It was designed to carry 6 crew plus science experiments and the like, and a similar design could probably be upped to 6-10 passengers plus crew for your purposes. It was also intended to be launched from the top of an Ariane 5 booster, not in the parallel-payload arrangement of the Space Shuttle, which would let you avoid any potential foam-related catastrophes. You might also be interested in reading about the Pioneer Rocketplane company, which is currently cutting metal on a Learjet-derived space plane as detailed in an article featured at Popular Science.

Above all, keep your enthusiasm! You've got a good attitude and are certainly passionate about space exploration. There are plenty of knowledgeable self-taught rocket buffs out there, so don't let your lack of a formal education bother you.

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