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Author Topic: Stratolaunch  (Read 46116 times)

Offline Creative

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Stratolaunch
« on: December 13, 2011, 02:22:02 pm »
http://www.gizmag.com/stratolaunch-systems-air-launch/20839/

Quote
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Allen and Rutan's new company, Stratolaunch Systems, will be developing a mobile launch system consisting of three main components.
The first will be an enormous carrier aircraft, made by Rutan's company Scaled Composites. With a wingspan of over 380 feet (116 m), packing six 747 engines and weighing over 1.2 million pounds (544,311 kg), it will be the largest aircraft ever flown.
Mounted underneath the aircraft's SpaceShipOne-like twin bodies will be a multi-stage booster, which in turn will be attached to the spacecraft. Built by Space Exploration Technologies, this 490,000-pound (222,260-kg) booster will fire once it has been released from the aircraft, carrying the spacecraft into orbit.
The third component of the system will be a mating and integration system, which will allow the aircraft to safely carry and release its payload. It will be designed by aerospace engineering firm Dynetics.
The aircraft will be constructed in a dedicated Stratolaunch hangar, which will reportedly soon be under construction at the Mojave Air and Space Port. Hopefully, the first flight should be taking place within five years. According to the company, its air-launch-to-orbit system "will mean lower costs, greater safety, and more flexibility and responsiveness than is possible today with ground-based systems." Turnaround time between launches should also be much shorter than is currently possible, allowing for a larger number of launches within a given time period.
Once built, the aircraft will likely operate out of a large airport/spaceport, such as the Kennedy Space Center. It will require a runway at least 12,000 feet (3,658 m) long, and be able to fly to launch points up to 1,300 nautical miles (2,407 km) away...

http://stratolaunchsystems.com/

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2011, 02:29:14 pm »
Two pics from the official site:

Offline AeroFranz

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Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2011, 06:36:39 pm »

A couple of thoughts:


One, depending on what the wheeltrack ends up being on the mothership, it might be hard to find suitable airports. But then again you probably only need few airports since you can cruise to a designated launch area thousands of miles away.


Two, didn't Rutan say sometime ago something to the effect that Scaled had pioneered construction techniques for the WK1 wing spar that was "scalable to very large aircraft"? I guess this would be it.


There are plenty of technical papers in the AIAA archives describing twin fuselage motherships, frequently using a pair of siamese-twins 747s or even C-5s. Seems like adapting two existing airframes would be cheaper than a clean-sheet design.
All modern aircraft have four dimensions: span, length, height and politics.   TSR.2 got the first three right - Sir Sydney Camm

Offline bobbymike

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Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2011, 08:57:15 pm »
Wow what a big booster it is carrying (relatively speaking for air launching), roughly 2.5X the weight/size of a Peacekeeper ICBM. Wonder what the payload to LEO is?
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AAAdrone

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Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2011, 09:22:52 pm »
Wow what a big booster it is carrying (relatively speaking for air launching), roughly 2.5X the weight/size of a Peacekeeper ICBM. Wonder what the payload to LEO is?

The Stratolaunch video on the website states that the booster can deliver 13,500 lbs. to Low Earth Orbit.

Video link on facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=202596223158748

This is an interesting concept.  The launch vehicle is certainly quite massive and I can only imagine the sudden "bounce" the craft may experience upon jettisoning the booster.  However given the shear mass of the vehicle that may not be too much of an issue.  I would certainly like to see this project at least attempted.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2011, 09:26:37 pm by AAAdrone »

Offline Lauge

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Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2011, 11:39:42 pm »
Wow what a big booster it is carrying.....

"Is that a big booster, or are you just happy to see me?"
 
Sorry - couldn' resist. Back to topic, promise  ;D
 
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Offline Mat Parry

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Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2011, 12:49:20 am »
The Stratolaunch video on the website states that the booster can deliver 13,500 lbs. to Low Earth Orbit.

Could be useful for boosting an X37B  ;)  still, the hanger for this beast would be truly gigantic!

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2011, 04:42:37 am »
The booster looks like it has a Dragon capsule on top, which would put its diameter at 3.6 m (same as the Falcon 9). A few years ago, SpaceX had plans to create a 'Falcon 5', which this design looks similar to. It'd be fairly easy to adapt the Falcon 9 design (just delete 4 engines, change the first stage length), leaving the wing as the only new development.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2011, 07:52:28 am by Hobbes »

Offline George Allegrezza

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Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2011, 05:49:48 am »
There are plenty of technical papers in the AIAA archives describing twin fuselage motherships, frequently using a pair of siamese-twins 747s or even C-5s. Seems like adapting two existing airframes would be cheaper than a clean-sheet design.


The nose of the piloted fuselage looks very much like a 747, but I don't know if it's an actual 747 forward section.  Someone on NSF (yeah I know) claims it's using 747 landing gear.  The engines are of course off-the-shelf, and I would assume the avionics are as well.

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2011, 06:21:52 am »
There are plenty of technical papers in the AIAA archives describing twin fuselage motherships, frequently using a pair of siamese-twins 747s or even C-5s. Seems like adapting two existing airframes would be cheaper than a clean-sheet design.


The nose of the piloted fuselage looks very much like a 747, but I don't know if it's an actual 747 forward section.  Someone on NSF (yeah I know) claims it's using 747 landing gear.  The engines are of course off-the-shelf, and I would assume the avionics are as well.

According to the promotional videos, the engines will be standard 747 types. As for the fuselage, cross section clearly shows it to be much slimmer than that of the 747, so I guess it's only passing resemblance.

Offline AeroFranz

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Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2011, 06:49:00 am »
Well, I'm sure Scaled is up to the task. Building a very large aircraft is not without its problems but it's been done before, unlike everything else they managed to do since 2004, which had no precedents. I worry more about the other components of the system and financial backing than Scaled's ability to pull this off.
All modern aircraft have four dimensions: span, length, height and politics.   TSR.2 got the first three right - Sir Sydney Camm

Offline Gridlock

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Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2011, 08:08:54 am »
It looks like Damien Hirst and Howard Hughes got drunk together..


I wouldn't like to try landing one in a strong crosswind, that's for sure. Although it does have mass on its side. I wonder how long before the PLA buy a Mriya and a chainsaw? :)

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2011, 08:19:45 am »
There are plenty of technical papers in the AIAA archives describing twin fuselage motherships, frequently using a pair of siamese-twins 747s or even C-5s. Seems like adapting two existing airframes would be cheaper than a clean-sheet design.

Buying two 747s isn't going to be cheap. For the several hundred M$ they'll cost, you can do an awful lot of design and fabrication work. Your clean-sheet design will also have much lighter fuselages, so it'll have more payload.

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2011, 08:27:16 am »
Your clean-sheet design will also have much lighter fuselages, so it'll have more payload.

Yes, composite materials will be part of the new aircraft's construction. None of it existed at the time the C-5 and 747 were developed and built.

Offline Hobbes

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Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2011, 10:17:13 am »
Not only that; the fuselages can be designed for a payload of 0 kg; as far as I can see they only exist to provide a place for the undercarriage, crew and tailplanes. Not a floor that can carry 100 tons.