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Lockheed Testing Future Spaceplane

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posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 02:05 AM
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Lockheed Martin Corporation is now using a private spaceport in New Mexico to advance some of its rocket/spaceplane technology.





The spaceplane is said to be one-fifth the size of the planned future space vehicle and is part of Lockheed's Reuseable Launch Vehicle (RLV) initiative.



The scaled down version of the spaceplane has already flown over the desert while being piloted remotely. The stated function of such a craft is to launch satellites cheaply. This is not part of the FALCON/Blackswift program.



Anyone have any other thoughts as to what DoD could do with a fighter-sized rocketpowered reuseable spaceplane?

~Natalie

[edit on 4-19-2008 by intelgurl]




posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 02:14 AM
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I would use it to steal or disable other people's satellites in a crisis, but that's just me. Also the stated function to quickly place a smaller satellite would be worth gold in certain circumstances.
Any word on potential launch vehicles? (I'm assuming it's not single-stage to orbit) Is Orbital Sciences involved in this project too?



posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 04:34 AM
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Any possibility it could be refuelled at one of the space stations, and flown on to Mars to do a low level photo recce job and return?
With it's canard configuration, it looks like something from the highly talented Mr Rutan, it's clearly intended to operate in an atmosphere, bear in mind though that some of Burt Rutans designs, whilst appearing to be full size and piloted, may still only be a scale model fo something considerably lagrger, hence his company name 'Scaled Composites'.
Very interesting, I look forward to hearing other suggestions.
Regards,
Horsegiver.



posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 08:17 AM
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reply to post by intelgurl
 


I think it may be related to the ARES (Affordable REsponsive Spacelift) concept, at least it has exactly the same configuration as the booster in that system.

The airforce seem to refer to this as a hybrid launch concept - reusable booster, expendable upperstage. Note this is different to a hybrid rocket motor - solid fuel, liquid oxidiser.



posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 08:17 AM
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Originally posted by horsegiver
Any possibility it could be refuelled at one of the space stations, and flown on to Mars to do a low level photo recce job and return?

I for one would not want to be in any fighter sized spacecraft going to Mars. Bear in mind typical travel time to Mars is estimated at 6 months - for a human to be cooped up inside such a small craft for that long means having to overcome all kinds of medical issues; blood clotting in the legs, muscle atrophy, etc.

Of course if it was unmanned to Mars ... well, that's a different story.




Originally posted by horsegiver
With it's canard configuration, it looks like something from the highly talented Mr Rutan

Yes, it probally is a Rutan design although Scaled is now a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman.

[edit on 4-19-2008 by intelgurl]



posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 08:18 AM
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Originally posted by horsegiver
Any possibility it could be refuelled at one of the space stations, and flown on to Mars to do a low level photo recce job and return?


No none.



posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 08:47 AM
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Seeing that plan design reminds me of a sighting in the early 1990's of a craft people dubbed 'brilliant buzzard'. Same canard design, same up turned wing tips, the lot.

Oh and Brilliant had a small fighter sized version on top for out of atmosphere operations.

The mind boggles.


www.aircraftresourcecenter.com...

A link to what brilliant buzzard is supposed to of looked like.

[edit on 19-4-2008 by Dan Tanna]



posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 09:29 AM
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Except BB is a horizontal take off and landing design while this is a vertical take off horizontal landing design,.

I think it's a fly back first stage booster.



posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 05:45 PM
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hmmm.. lets see...

China shoot's down low level satelite...

LhM tests cheap/quick/reusable space launch system...

... duh.



posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 05:47 PM
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oh yea.. and "intelgurl"

... i understand you are compliant with blah blah.. but ever hear of OPSEC?

...



posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 06:58 PM
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Curse the enter button and its double-posting evil!

[edit on 4/19/2008 by Darkpr0]



posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 07:04 PM
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Originally posted by intelgurl
Anyone have any other thoughts as to what DoD could do with a fighter-sized rocketpowered reuseable spaceplane?


It is my personal suspicion that such a machine would enable them to transport various sub-fighter-sized-rocket-powered-reusable-spaceplane sized items (the majority of which I would wager having the purpose of making things become exploded) into space, possibly orbit, and then return safely after having created enough craters to deem the mission accomplished. And then do this as many times as they want.


Yes, I know it says it's for satellites to be launched, but it's Saturday and I feel like having a bit of fun. But all in all I'd say what this gives them is the capability to cheaply place satellites with virtually anything that can be mounted on said satellites into orbit. And that's a lot of capability. I would say that it makes a lot of sense to have a launch vehicle that can keep coming back, but I want to ask one question (the answer to which we don't have but would be infinitely knowledge-giving), and then another (mostly due to curiosity). The first is: What sort of things has the DoD researched for use on current launch vehicles but determined to yet to be unfeasible (Could give an indication as to what sort of things they want a new launch vehicle to be able to do for them)? The second: Compared to current launch vehicles what sort of primary boosters (such as current solid-fuel boosters on the Space Shuttle) will be used?


Originally posted by Air_Superiority
... i understand you are compliant with blah blah.. but ever hear of OPSEC?

...


If information like this threatens national security every regular to this forum would have had their doors C4'd multiple times since the new year.

As well, OPSEC is supposed to prevent information from getting to... Who, exactly? What would the government care that we know they're working on such a thing (particularly when with minimal research most people could find out that the US is, in fact, researching new launch vehicles)?



posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 07:19 PM
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Originally posted by Air_Superiority
oh yea.. and "intelgurl"

... i understand you are compliant with blah blah.. but ever hear of OPSEC?

...

I am more than familiar with operational security, i deal with it every day - and if I deal with it every day and I am in violation of it, how then am I still posting after 5 years here on ATS?

I challenge you to tell me exactly what about this particular post violates OPSEC?


[edit on 4-19-2008 by intelgurl]



posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 07:41 PM
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Originally posted by Darkpr0

Originally posted by intelgurl
Anyone have any other thoughts as to what DoD could do with a fighter-sized rocketpowered reuseable spaceplane?



The first is: What sort of things has the DoD researched for use on current launch vehicles but determined to yet to be unfeasible


Things like TacSat.


The second: Compared to current launch vehicles what sort of primary boosters (such as current solid-fuel boosters on the Space Shuttle) will be used?


This is the primary booster, for thrust and volumetric reason probably propelled by RP-1 and LOX although LH or CH4 are also possible fuels.



[edit on 19-4-2008 by Nacnud]


MBF

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 01:01 AM
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I would think the bird would be used for reconnaissance or as the satellite itself.



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