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Next Generation reusable launch vehicle

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posted on Oct, 20 2006 @ 04:19 AM
Does anyone know why this design is not being used by Nasa now?

It was designed by Lockheed Martin as a system based on current or soon to be available technology. It is a spaceplane which then launches a capsule into Low earth orbit. the site gives a figure of $1100 per pound of payload. How does this compare to that of the shuttle?

While the capsule is similar to that of the Apollo program or the Orion, it seems a reasonable next step, instead of reinventing Apollo.

This site also states an orbiting Space Elevator could be used to get the payload to a higher orbit. This elevator would be in orbit, not attached to Earth.

posted on Oct, 20 2006 @ 07:02 AM
NASA isn't using the space-plane that you linked to because the engines that are supposed to power it don't exist yet. Funding to develop said engines is in short supply (for various reasons that mostly involve politics). Once we have the engines available, the airframe will have to be actually designed (as opposed to being drawn in a PowerPoint (tm) presentation, then the hardware will have to be flight-tested. By the time that's done, there will be some environmental reason why the design has to be changed, or Congress will step in and demand some additional capability, or NASA will change the mission requirements (multiple items from this list are possible). After this round of changes is made, more flight testing will be required. Lather, rinse, and repeat these last two steps for around a decade (based on experience with the F-22 Raptor), and we might see this space plane around the year 2040.

As for the space elevator, the materials to actuall build one (as opposed to simply discussing it) do exist, but not in any amount remotely close to what you'd need. As with the space plane, there's also the question of cost. Now, if you happen to know someone who has a few thousand miles of carbon nanotube cable just sitting around in his or her garage waiting to be donated to NASA, by all means, let the folks at Huntsville know ASAP! *grin*

Brother Stormhammer

posted on Oct, 20 2006 @ 08:43 AM
NASA, being a more or less civil public institution ostensibly under public direction and control would be an unlikely place for space-plane tech to "Pop-Up".

However I feel comfortable that the American military would have such capability if not only in prototype form, then in limited service or small-scale operational... perhaps even through the auspices of private contractors.

Lil' Kim's umbrella-of-jive will be of little use against an orbital or sub-orbital asset of an announced or unannounced project.

I've been intrigued with the space elevator since reading "The Fountains of Paradise" and see it as a one-day-doable thing... just not yet.

Victor K.


posted on Oct, 20 2006 @ 11:19 AM
if nasa had the funding that they had around the time of apollo, they could probably use it. The technology is fairly close for the engines I think, didn't they test the system last year on a small version?

if America put the money they waste on still seeming to build stuff for the cold war, into Nasa they could have built a Spaceplane, I mean somewhere the design or similar has probably been used top secret. It does look quite a lot like the Aurora don't you think?

posted on Oct, 20 2006 @ 11:39 AM
Don't count on ANY cost projections of a project that hasn't even begun. NOTHING ever is brought in without over runs. By the time they cut metal on any reuseable new vehicle it'll cost way more!!

The only logical next vehicle HAS to be one as described. We need for it to take off under its own power and have functioning engines on re-entry and landing. This hurling to earth like a brick is real old school. And the stinkin shuttles aren't going to last till 2040 so just what are they going to do till then?

That line drawing on the site is typical of the layout of experimental re-entry vehicle shapes explored since the 1960s at least. I wouldn't read much into that.

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