Register here

Author Topic: Stratolaunch  (Read 46117 times)

Offline Creative

  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 241
Stratolaunch
« on: December 13, 2011, 02:22:02 pm »
http://www.gizmag.com/stratolaunch-systems-air-launch/20839/

Quote
...
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

  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 12922
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2011, 02:29:14 pm »
Two pics from the official site:

Offline AeroFranz

  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Top Contributor
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 1895
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

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 7046
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?
"The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection." - Thomas Paine

"On what principle is it that with nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?" - Lord Macaulay

AAAdrone

  • Guest
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

  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 436
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
 
Regards & all, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all and sundry,
 
Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg
"Cry 'Havoc' and let slip the crocoducks of war"

"Swinging across on rigging, cutlass in teeth, is regrettably not a practical means of boarding a spacecraft".
The Tough Guide to the Known Galaxy

Offline Mat Parry

  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 331
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

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 503
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

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 684
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

  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 12922
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

  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Top Contributor
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 1895
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

  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 242
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

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 503
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

  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 12922
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

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 503
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.

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2011, 11:31:47 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.

What is the largest aircraft built by Scaled?

Offline Hobbes

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 503
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2011, 11:46:51 am »
Probably White Knight 2
Quote
General characteristics

    Payload: 17,000 kg (37,000 lb)[24] to 50000 ft.; 200 kg satellite to LEO[25] (test)    Length: 24 m (79 ft)    Wingspan: 43 m (141 ft)    Height: ()    Powerplant: 4 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PW308 turbofanPerformance    Service ceiling: 21.3 km (70,000 ft [24])
(from Wikipedia)
« Last Edit: December 14, 2011, 12:39:58 pm by Hobbes »

Offline Byeman

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 655
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2011, 11:48:11 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.

No, they will be carrying LOX tanks for topping off the booster

Offline AeroFranz

  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Top Contributor
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 1895
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2011, 12:51:41 pm »
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.

All previous points made about superiority of clean sheet design duly noted and for the most part agreed on. I do not think however on the cost issue. Who says you have to buy new 747s? IIRC, the NASA B-52 mothership had the lowest flight hours of ANY B-52 in the air force, so airframe life is not an issue. As a matter of fact, a few years back I spent an evening at the Voyager diner at the Mojave airport a couple of doors down from Scaled. From there I could see dozens of airliners parked out in the desert for lack of use (9/11? economic downturn?), I can't remember if there were 747s...but you get my point, I am sure that there are 747s to be had, and I don't think you can build a new 1.2M pounds design for less than it takes to buy two used 747s that benefitted from ~50 years of high volume production.
The catch in using low wing aircraft lies in having to hang the payload underneath the wing, hence the better suitability of C-5s. Hell, not all the remaining air force C-5s are being converted to -Ms, maybe you can get a deal on a couple that are redundant. Too bad the old models are down half the time for maintenance.
All modern aircraft have four dimensions: span, length, height and politics.   TSR.2 got the first three right - Sir Sydney Camm

Offline mboeller

  • CLEARANCE: Confidential
  • *
  • Posts: 30
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2011, 12:52:26 am »
IMHO,
using 2 747 fuselages would not work because of the cantilever-design with the wing below the fuselage.
Redesigning the fuselage with a wing above the fuselage would cost more than a clean-sheet design.

AAAdrone

  • Guest
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2011, 10:00:24 am »
IMHO,
using 2 747 fuselages would not work because of the cantilever-design with the wing below the fuselage.
Redesigning the fuselage with a wing above the fuselage would cost more than a clean-sheet design.

I don't really think those are 747 fuselages.  Like Stargazer said the cross-section of each fuselage appears to be too small for them to be made by sticking two 747s together.  The fuselages might be designed from the ground up to look conveniently similar to a 747 though.  The engines and supposedly the landing gear and possibly even the avionics will also be taken from the 747.  Basically the general superstructure is clean-sheet but the more intricate and complex parts are off the shelf if my beliefs are correct.

Offline Gridlock

  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 242
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2011, 11:04:57 am »
If you're working largely in CFD then is there an economy available in utilising well-understood and -modelled airframe shapes? My guess.


In the modelling and therefore final shape I mean, not that it's made of 747.

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2011, 07:03:05 am »
There's a good assessment here:

http://www.newspacejournal.com/2011/12/15/stratolaunch-a-contrarian-view/

I think this is the key point:

"Instead, I’ve been pondering this question: what problem does this system solve? That’s the key question for any business venture, not just a launch vehicle company. What can Stratolaunch do that others can’t do, or do as well or as cheaply? Air launch has its advantages, but also carries with it some disadvantages and other issues. That, coupled with what the company has released about its technical capabilities, leads me to wonder if the Stratolaunch system will really be that competitive over more conventional launch systems in service or under active development today."

However, look also at his discussion of the aircraft cost. This is going to be an expensive aircraft. Standard cost models indicate that it will cost billions.

And I think it is also worth asking if it is realistic for Scaled to build such a large aircraft. Scaled builds unique, one-of-a-kind, relatively small and low-powered/low-performance vehicles. This aircraft is of a size that only the major aerospace contractors have experience with.

I think this is a vanity project and it's going to fold in a few years. It certainly doesn't serve any part of the over-saturated launch market that requires these unique capabilities.

Offline RanulfC

  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 418
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2011, 08:21:38 am »
Ok, what's "known" so far:
 
- StratoLaunch has already purchased two (2) used 747s they will be stripping for landing gear and avionics. (They said yesterday they are looking to purchase a third for parts also)
 
- Fuselage and wings will be all "new" build, the main reason the cockpit area looks like that of a 747 is because they plan to use the layour and controls from a 747.
 
- Carrier Aircraft will be runway limited to at least 12,000ft runways, however it will NOT be a "dedicated" Air-Launch-Vehicle but will be capable of carrying out-sized and specialty cargo with a 9,200 mile range
 
- The rocket will be a "varient" of the Falcon-9 with 5 engines in the first stage, 1 engine in the second stage. @13,500lbs to LEO delivery
 
- The video (here:https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=202596223158748) shows the whole flight profile.
 
- Both Space-X (booster) and Scaled (Carrier Aircraft) are on-board as "contractors" only. Allen is listed as an "investor" while Rutan is on the "board" as well as Mike Griffin (yes that one :) )
 
Pretty much everything else is speculation and a lot of it. According to the press conference Allen ONLY decided to release as much as he has because construction of the hanger in Mojave is supposed to start soon and that's something they would not be able to "hide" from competitiors.
 
Oh and for the general FYI I found this paper at NTRS which gives some pretty good information on the hows and whys of Air Launch To Orbit economics:
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20070002822_2007001607.pdf
 
Randy

RGClark

  • Guest
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2011, 09:27:30 am »
There's a good assessment here:

http://www.newspacejournal.com/2011/12/15/stratolaunch-a-contrarian-view/

I think this is the key point:

"Instead, I’ve been pondering this question: what problem does this system solve? That’s the key question for any business venture, not just a launch vehicle company. What can Stratolaunch do that others can’t do, or do as well or as cheaply? Air launch has its advantages, but also carries with it some disadvantages and other issues. That, coupled with what the company has released about its technical capabilities, leads me to wonder if the Stratolaunch system will really be that competitive over more conventional launch systems in service or under active development today."
However, look also at his discussion of the aircraft cost. This is going to be an expensive aircraft. Standard cost models indicate that it will cost billions.
...

 DARPA with its Alasa program wants this type of airlaunch system but for small payloads, ca. 100 pounds:

Article:
US Military Wants to Launch Satellites from Airplanes.
Date: 07 November 2011 Time: 12:08 PM ET
http://www.space.com/13529-darpa-military-airplane-satellite-launches.html

 Curiously, they also expect it to fly by 2015. For launches this small, it might work to use a WhiteKnight2 for the carrier aircraft, and a Falcon 1 first stage as the rocket, perhaps shrunk slightly to fit within the carrying capacity of the WhiteKnight2.
 DARPA is basing the feasibility of such air launch systems on this study:

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20110015353_2011016245.pdf

 A focus of this study was on systems intermediate in size between DARPA's Alasa and Stratolaunch, with for example the carrier aircraft being 747-sized and the rocket being of Falcon 1e size.


    Bob Clark

RGClark

  • Guest
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2011, 09:44:33 am »
...
Oh and for the general FYI I found this paper at NTRS which gives some pretty good information on the hows and whys of Air Launch To Orbit economics:
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20070002822_2007001607.pdf
 
Randy

 The benefits of air launch go beyond just the speed and altitude attained. This is discussed in this report:

Air Launching Earth-to-Orbit Vehicles: Delta V gains from Launch Conditions and Vehicle Aerodynamics.
Nesrin Sarigul-Klijn University of California, Davis, CA, UNITED STATES; Chris Noel University of California, Davis, CA, UNITED STATES; Marti Sarigul-Klijn University of California, Davis, CA, UNITED STATES
AIAA-2004-872
42nd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, Reno, Nevada, Jan. 5-8, 2004
http://pdf.aiaa.org/preview/CDReadyMASM04_665/PV2004_872.pdf  [first page only]

 The conclusions are summarized in this online lecture:

A.4.2.1 Launch Method Analysis (Air Launch).
"For a launch from a carrier aircraft, the aircraft speed will directly reduce the Δv required to attain LEO. However, the majority of the Δv benefit from an air launch results
from the angle of attack of the vehicle during the release of the rocket. An
ideal angle is somewhere of the order of 25° to 30°.
"A study by Klijn et al. concluded that at an altitude of 15250m, a rocket launch with the
carrier vehicle having a zero launch velocity at an angle of attack of 0° to
the horizontal experienced a Δv benefit of approximately 600 m/s while a launch
at a velocity of 340m/s at the same altitude and angle of attack resulted in a
Δv benefit of approximately 900m/s. The zero launch velocity situations can
be used to represent the launch from a balloon as it has no horizontal velocity.
"Furthermore, by increasing the angle of attack of the carrier vehicle to
30° and launching at 340m/s, a Δv gain of approximately 1100m/s
was obtained. Increasing the launch velocity to 681m/s and 1021m/s produced a
Δv gain of 1600m/s and 2000m/s respectively.
"From this comparison, it can be seen that in terms of the Δv gain, an airlaunch is
superior to a ground launch. As the size of the vehicle decreases, this superiority
will have a larger effect due to the increased effective drag on the vehicle."
https://engineering.purdue.edu/AAE/Academics/Courses/aae450/2008/spring/report_archive/reportuploads/appendix/propulsion/A.4.2.1%20Launch%20Method%20Analysis%20(Air%20Launch).doc

 A speed of 340 m/s is a little more than Mach 1, while subsonic transport aircraft typically cruise
slightly below Mach 1. So the delta-V saving could still be in the range of 1,000 m/s with air launch,
a significant savings by the rocket equation.


    Bob Clark

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2011, 09:55:05 am »
DARPA is basing the feasibility of such air launch systems on this study:

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20110015353_2011016245.pdf


This is the interim report. The final report has been completed and should be available somewhere.

Offline ouroboros

  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 337
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #27 on: December 17, 2011, 12:36:13 am »
Smart to make the carrier aircraft capable of carrying outsize cargo (via a cargo pod?) as a revenue generator when not busy throwing rockets, much like the AN-225. There is also the potential market for sale/lease to other air launchable systems (XCOR Lynx? Possible B-52 replacement for NASA for air drop experiments? DARPA and friends?) but the big takeaway is the listed range of 1300nm. This underlies a possible launch approach of going uprange, launching, and recovering the first stage of the rocket via a "glide forward" methodology rather than the traditional "boost back" profile, allowing recovery of all assets at the same airport/spaceport and not taking a large deltaV hit on the rocket for the recovery boost.

The rocket concept is shown with a Pegasus style wing (is this truly necessary for the trajectory?), but nothing is stopping SpaceX from adapting their Hopper VTVL related technologies they are developing for the recoverable Falcon 9 first stage to do a vertical propulsive landing for stage recovery.

Offline Skyblazer

  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 12922
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #28 on: December 17, 2011, 02:07:32 am »
I don't deem it irrational to build a carrier aircraft that can carry just about any kind of self-propelled vehicle to high altitudes. Programs like Pegasus, X-37, X-38, X-40, X-43, X-51, SpaceShipOne, SpaceShipTwo, XCOR Lynx, and many others have relied or will rely on this capability. I wouldn't be surprised if the operating and maintenance costs of a Stratolauncher were distinctly smaller than those of a Stratofortress. Having one platform that can fit the bill with less costs and operate from US ground, especially now that NASA itself is using foreign launch sites for its own programs, seems pretty seems sensible to me.

Offline Byeman

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 655
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2011, 05:29:21 am »
This underlies a possible launch approach of going uprange, launching, and recovering the first stage of the rocket via a "glide forward" methodology rather than the traditional "boost back" profile, allowing recovery of all assets at the same airport/spaceport and not taking a large deltaV hit on the rocket for the recovery boost.


Huh?  Yeah, right.  How many airports do you think can support this aircraft?  There are just couple that can be used to "launch" the configuration. 

Offline Skyblazer

  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 12922
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #30 on: December 17, 2011, 05:40:24 am »
This underlies a possible launch approach of going uprange, launching, and recovering the first stage of the rocket via a "glide forward" methodology rather than the traditional "boost back" profile, allowing recovery of all assets at the same airport/spaceport and not taking a large deltaV hit on the rocket for the recovery boost.


Huh?  Yeah, right.  How many airports do you think can support this aircraft?  There are just couple that can be used to "launch" the configuration.

Also remember that Mojave is now tagged as a spaceport since the SpaceShip venture was started. I am sure that they will make sure the Stratolauncher can take off from and land there.

Offline Nik

  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 382
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #31 on: December 17, 2011, 11:21:59 am »
One outré thought: If those twin hulls carry LOX to top-off the rocket's cryo-tank, there's a slim chance that the aircraft could be fitted with 'jato' nozzles burning kerosene / LOX, reducing the runway requirements at the expense of some range...


Uh, would water-injection, per Harriers' Pegasus engine help ?

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #32 on: December 18, 2011, 02:56:30 pm »
This underlies a possible launch approach of going uprange, launching, and recovering the first stage of the rocket via a "glide forward" methodology rather than the traditional "boost back" profile, allowing recovery of all assets at the same airport/spaceport and not taking a large deltaV hit on the rocket for the recovery boost.


Huh?  Yeah, right.  How many airports do you think can support this aircraft?  There are just couple that can be used to "launch" the configuration.

Stop being so pessimistic. This can easily be made to work if you simply add a few more completely unproven technologies to the mix as well. If you use a VASIMR engine, powered by a Helium-3 fusion reactor, with guidance provided by space based solar power, it all becomes possible.

Offline RanulfC

  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 418
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #33 on: December 19, 2011, 07:34:05 am »
Following list has @ 30 runways in the US that meet or exceed the 12,000ft runway requirement of the carrier aircraft:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_longest_runways
 
Randy

Offline George Allegrezza

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 684
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #34 on: December 19, 2011, 09:03:44 am »
Stop being so pessimistic. This can easily be made to work if you simply add a few more completely unproven technologies to the mix as well. If you use a VASIMR engine, powered by a Helium-3 fusion reactor, with guidance provided by space based solar power, it all becomes possible.


You forgot the propellant depots at L1.

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #35 on: December 19, 2011, 08:04:09 pm »
Stop being so pessimistic. This can easily be made to work if you simply add a few more completely unproven technologies to the mix as well. If you use a VASIMR engine, powered by a Helium-3 fusion reactor, with guidance provided by space based solar power, it all becomes possible.


You forgot the propellant depots at L1.

No, I didn't. I figured that with the inclusion of the unicorn, they weren't necessary.

Offline Grey Havoc

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 7256
  • _ \\ //
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #36 on: January 22, 2012, 07:54:04 am »
To the Stars

Offline Skyblazer

  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 12922
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #37 on: January 22, 2012, 02:46:51 pm »
Stratolaunch Systems Announces Ground Breaking At Mojave (Spacedaily.com)

Thanks! I really hope they can get this project to its completion, it is exciting when something that new and that big is undertaken!

Offline Skyblazer

  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 12922
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #38 on: April 17, 2012, 12:37:30 pm »
According to the latest issue of Popular Mechanics, the Stratolaunch aircraft is known at Scaled as the Model 351 and named the Roc.

   

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/aviation/news/say-hello-to-stratolaunch-the-worlds-largest-plane-6705761?click=pp

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #39 on: April 17, 2012, 07:53:50 pm »
At their last press conference they indicated that the aircraft would look different than the early concept art. I wonder if this reflects a more accurate version?

Offline Skyblazer

  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 12922
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #40 on: July 14, 2012, 06:28:29 pm »
Some information indicating that Scaled was considering using 747s for the Stratolaunch effort seems to be confirmed. A look at the civil register shows that Scaled Composites acquired two Boeing 747-422  (former United Airlines) aircraft: N196UA on March 8, and N198UA on April 14. Both aircraft were built in 1997.

http://www.aircraftone.com/search.asp?pg=2&type=rn&criteria=Scaled+Composites&gid=82DE1B9D-9B4A-46DF-98F0-F223BCBF2696&rc=13&prevpage=1

Offline Byeman

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 655
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #41 on: July 15, 2012, 05:03:09 am »
Some information indicating that Scaled was considering using 747s for the Stratolaunch effort seems to be confirmed.

That didn't confirm it.  The many pictures of 747's at the Stratolaunch facility at Mojave did months ago as did their news release.

http://hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index.php?itemid=35339
http://www.stratolaunch.com/news.html
« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 05:07:04 am by Byeman »

Offline Skyblazer

  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 12922
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #42 on: July 15, 2012, 11:24:41 am »
That didn't confirm it.

Fair enough. They could be just snatching engines and stuff OR they could decide to use the fuselages too. It's too early to tell, but I'm tempted to believe that from a financial point of view, a proof-of-concept vehicle would be much less costly to do by joining two proven existing fuselages instead of building two unproven ones from scratch.

Offline Hobbes

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 503
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #43 on: July 15, 2012, 12:10:07 pm »
The 747 fuselage is built for a low wing, which would make it difficult to fit the rocket underneath. They need a high wing.

Offline Orionblamblam

  • Secret Projects Guru
  • Top Contributor
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 6746
    • Aerospace Projects Review
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #44 on: July 15, 2012, 01:42:10 pm »
In principle they could connect 2 747 fuselages with a straight wing segment and carry the rocket on *top*. Separation would be a bit terrifying, but it'd be possible. Also, they could have a "gull wing" center section that bows upwards. Heavy and complex, but doable.
Aerospace Projects Review


And so the endless circle of life comes to an end, meaningless and grim. Why did they live, and why did they die? No reason. Two hundred million years of evolution snuffed out, for in the end Nature is horrific and teaches us nothing

Offline Skyblazer

  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 12922
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #45 on: July 15, 2012, 02:52:13 pm »
Also, they could have a "gull wing" center section that bows upwards. Heavy and complex, but doable.

Yeah, that was indeed a solution studied by Myasishchev on their 3M2 and AKC projects. But the wing was high-rooted already.

Offline XP67_Moonbat

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 2054
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #46 on: November 27, 2012, 07:19:34 pm »
In God we trust, all others we monitor. :-p

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #47 on: November 29, 2012, 02:05:31 pm »
We'll have to see what happens next. On the one hand, you can always find another contractor if you pay them enough. But on the other hand, I suspect that building an air-launched rocket that big is going to be a really tough challenge. Imagine all the propellant sloshing issues. And I have always suspected that they would have a hard time getting an airworthiness certificate for the aircraft because of what is likely to happen if they lose an engine during the takeoff roll with a fully loaded aircraft and rocket--it just careens down the runway and creates a very big explosion.

The aircraft would be cool, but I've never expected this thing to go anywhere.

Offline Bill Walker

  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 482
  • Per Ardua ad Nauseum
    • Canadian Military aircraft Serial Numbers
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #48 on: November 29, 2012, 04:41:05 pm »
... And I have always suspected that they would have a hard time getting an airworthiness certificate for the aircraft because of what is likely to happen...

The cool thing about flying strange aircraft in the US is that they won't need a full airworthiness certificate.  They can get an experimental flight permit with some restrictions - like making sure you only kill company employees when it blows up after an engine failure.
Bill Walker

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #49 on: November 29, 2012, 07:42:26 pm »
... And I have always suspected that they would have a hard time getting an airworthiness certificate for the aircraft because of what is likely to happen...

The cool thing about flying strange aircraft in the US is that they won't need a full airworthiness certificate.  They can get an experimental flight permit with some restrictions - like making sure you only kill company employees when it blows up after an engine failure.

But how likely is the FAA going to simply give them a pass for carrying around thousands of pounds of rocket fuel?

Offline Hobbes

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 503
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #50 on: November 30, 2012, 12:57:01 am »
We'll have to see what happens next. On the one hand, you can always find another contractor if you pay them enough. But on the other hand, I suspect that building an air-launched rocket that big is going to be a really tough challenge.

If you read the article, it says they're talking to Orbital Sciences, which has been using the Pegasus winged air-launched rocket for years now. And propellant sloshing issues are familiar territory for anyone who's built a rocket engine that needs to be started in 0 G.

Sure, it's a challenge, but it seems to me they're talking to the right people.

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #51 on: November 30, 2012, 05:32:25 am »
We'll have to see what happens next. On the one hand, you can always find another contractor if you pay them enough. But on the other hand, I suspect that building an air-launched rocket that big is going to be a really tough challenge.

If you read the article, it says they're talking to Orbital Sciences, which has been using the Pegasus winged air-launched rocket for years now. And propellant sloshing issues are familiar territory for anyone who's built a rocket engine that needs to be started in 0 G.

Sure, it's a challenge, but it seems to me they're talking to the right people.

Covered by the second sentence I wrote above--anybody will work, even on something stupid, if you offer them enough money.

As for propellant sloshing, note that Pegasus doesn't have to deal with this. And there's a big difference between zero g and what a very large rocket dropped from a very large aircraft would experience. Indeed, it might experience negative gees (i.e. with the fuel flowing away from the engine).

Offline Bill Walker

  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 482
  • Per Ardua ad Nauseum
    • Canadian Military aircraft Serial Numbers
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #52 on: November 30, 2012, 09:35:19 am »

But how likely is the FAA going to simply give them a pass for carrying around thousands of pounds of rocket fuel?

This is truly the least of their problems.  The FAA, by explicit mandate, could care less if you blow yourself up.  They just want to make sure you don't blow anybody else up.  This is easily done by testing over unpopulated regions in the American SW.  Like just east of Mojave, Palmdale and Edwards for instance.  And that is why you find such interesting activities being carried out at Mojave, Palmdale and Edwards.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2012, 06:53:08 pm by Bill Walker »
Bill Walker

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #53 on: November 30, 2012, 04:32:40 pm »
Some more:

http://www.spacenews.com/article/orbital-science-replaces-spacex-on-stratolaunch-project#.ULkvf4UXFFR

"“We agreed with SpaceX that to meet our design requirements, the existing Falcon 9 architecture would require significant structural modifications to incorporate a fin/chine and to be carried horizontally,” Wentz said. “As we studied the design, it became apparent that SpaceX would have to make significant modifications to their manufacturing process to accommodate our configuration, which would have a pronounced effect on their business model.”"

Offline sferrin

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 9061
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #55 on: March 24, 2013, 06:02:24 am »
Yeah, I always expected that, and I think they said that the early artwork was provisional and that they were NOT going to use the 747 fuselages. Makes sense. The 747 fuselage had much more internal volume than they require, so they could save a lot of mass with a new one (or two).

My view is that I that the airplane will probably fly but the rocket probably won't. And it's hard to see how this is going to be any cheaper than SpaceX. I think this is a rich guy's vanity project. But it's still cool.

Offline Skyblazer

  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 12922
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #56 on: August 16, 2013, 04:38:57 pm »
Here are larger versions of two early pictures (displaying the initial design) that appeared in the first pages of this thread. They were illustrated by Vladimir Shelest for Popular Mechanics:




Larger-size versions of these paintings (and more of Shelest's great works) can be seen here: http://shelest.deviantart.com/gallery/

Offline sferrin

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 9061
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #57 on: August 16, 2013, 05:46:03 pm »
Nice.  B)    I really hope Scaled is successful enough with their White Knight 2 / SpaceShip 2 to fund this bigger aircraft.
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline Byeman

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 655
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #58 on: August 17, 2013, 05:31:14 pm »
Nice.  B)    I really hope Scaled is successful enough with their White Knight 2 / SpaceShip 2 to fund this bigger aircraft.


Huh?  Stratolaunch, the company, is funding this aircraft

Offline Skyblazer

  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 12922
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #59 on: August 17, 2013, 06:03:22 pm »
Stratolaunch, the company, is funding this aircraft

Absolutely. Scaled Composites designs and will build it, but it's a Stratolaunch product. There have actually been very few Scaled projects that were actually company funded. Most of the time the work is done on behalf of another, often bigger corporate entity.

Offline sferrin

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 9061
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #60 on: August 17, 2013, 06:34:42 pm »
Okay, let me rephrase that.  I hope the White Knight 2 / Spaceship 2 is successful enough that its success encourages investment in Stratolaunch.
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline Byeman

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 655
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #61 on: August 18, 2013, 05:43:43 am »
Okay, let me rephrase that.  I hope the White Knight 2 / Spaceship 2 is successful enough that its success encourages investment in Stratolaunch.

Why?  They are competitors.

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #62 on: August 18, 2013, 05:55:56 am »
Okay, let me rephrase that.  I hope the White Knight 2 / Spaceship 2 is successful enough that its success encourages investment in Stratolaunch.

Why?  They are competitors.

They're not competitors. Virgin Galactic is suborbital. They have said that eventually they want to get into the orbital business, but even then that will be for very small payloads. Stratolaunch is much bigger. They operate in entirely different parts of the market.

But I don't think the success of one will affect the other. They share a similar launch method, but that's it. It's like comparing a Cessna to a 787. They do different things and have different requirements.

Offline bobbymike

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 7046
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #63 on: October 07, 2013, 09:00:59 am »
"The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection." - Thomas Paine

"On what principle is it that with nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?" - Lord Macaulay

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #64 on: October 07, 2013, 09:57:39 am »
http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckBlogId=Blog:04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385&plckPostId=Blog%3a04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385Post%3add366625-ca5e-4215-8af1-5f83237def46
 
Rocket looks to be a different configuration than in earlier pictures in this thread.

I have my doubts. They displayed this at the Space Foundation conference in April. I was there. I took pictures of it (which I cannot find--where did I put them?). I think that the photos on this site were also taken at the same conference. So I don't think anything has changed. But maybe I'm wrong and should look for my images again.

Offline bobbymike

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 7046
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #65 on: October 07, 2013, 10:00:32 am »
http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckBlogId=Blog:04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385&plckPostId=Blog%3a04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385Post%3add366625-ca5e-4215-8af1-5f83237def46
 
Rocket looks to be a different configuration than in earlier pictures in this thread.

I have my doubts. They displayed this at the Space Foundation conference in April. I was there. I took pictures of it (which I cannot find--where did I put them?). I think that the photos on this site were also taken at the same conference. So I don't think anything has changed. But maybe I'm wrong and should look for my images again.

To me the back end looks like two segments of ATK's ASRM with single nozzle?
"The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection." - Thomas Paine

"On what principle is it that with nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?" - Lord Macaulay

Offline XP67_Moonbat

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 2054
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #66 on: October 07, 2013, 05:26:19 pm »
That's what I was thinking!
In God we trust, all others we monitor. :-p

Offline Byeman

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 655
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #67 on: October 08, 2013, 05:44:34 am »

To me the back end looks like two segments of ATK's ASRM with single nozzle?

Too heavy for this application and the casings are owned by NASA, which is planning on using them in an expendable mode for early versions of SLS.

Offline bobbymike

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 7046
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #68 on: May 24, 2014, 07:20:59 am »
Aerojet Rocketdyne to Provide Upper-Stage Propulsion for Revolutionary Eagles Launch System

SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 19, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, has received a contract from Stratolaunch Systems Corporation (SSC) to provide six RL10C-1 production engines, with an option to provide an additional six RL10C-1 production engines at a later date, for the third stage of a revolutionary commercial air-launch system. The inaugural launch of Thunderbolt, the air-launch vehicle designed and developed for SSC, is scheduled for 2018.

"Aerojet Rocketdyne is pleased to provide RL10C-1 production engines for the Stratolaunch air-launch vehicle," said Steve Bouley, vice president of Space Launch Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne. "The RL10 family of engines has a long history of reliability and dependability. This contract expands our reach into commercial ventures and builds greater volume, providing more affordable propulsion to all of our customers."

The design concept for The Eagles Launch System involves the launch of an unmanned rocket dubbed Thunderbolt, carrying a commercial or government payload from beneath the fuselage of a giant carrier aircraft. According to the concept, the carrier aircraft will be powered by six Boeing 747 class jet engines and have a wingspan greater than the length of a football field. Upon reaching a prescribed altitude, the rocket will be dropped from the aircraft, at which point two stages of solid rocket boosters will fire and propel the rocket skyward. Once the solid rocket boosters are expended, two Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 engines will ignite to ultimately place the satellite into proper orbit.

The RL10C-1 is a liquid-fuel cryogenic rocket engine designed and developed from the RL10 family of upper-stage engines, which have accumulated one of the most impressive lists of accomplishments in the history of space propulsion. The RL10 has helped place numerous military, government and commercial satellites into orbit over the last five decades, and powered scientific space-probe missions to nearly every planet in our solar system. This new application for the RL10 family opens a new era within a commercial venture that will again be a platform for demonstrated reliability and mission success.

Aerojet Rocketdyne is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader providing propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets. GenCorp is a diversified company that provides innovative solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense, and real estate markets. Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the companies' websites at www.Rocket.com and www.GenCorp.com.
   
"The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection." - Thomas Paine

"On what principle is it that with nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?" - Lord Macaulay

Offline sferrin

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 9061
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #69 on: May 24, 2014, 07:44:44 am »
I am genuinely excited by this program.  It's private (no government meddling) and they have deep pockets.
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline Grey Havoc

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 7256
  • _ \\ //
To the Stars

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #71 on: February 10, 2015, 08:51:11 pm »
Carrier aircraft under construction.

Offline Archibald

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1561
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #72 on: February 11, 2015, 02:27:53 am »
Even if Stratolaunch fails at the rocket launch hurdle, the Roc will stuck as a pretty impressive aircraft. If the rocket launch business never materialize at all, I cann that thing being used as a one shot competitor to the An-225 for oversized cargo...
Do they plan to build a second aircraft ?
Conservatoire de l'Air et de l'Espace d'Aquitaine - Bordeaux - Mérignac / Dassault aviation museum
http://www.caea.info/en/plan.php

Offline sferrin

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 9061
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #73 on: February 11, 2015, 03:10:18 am »
I'd think the number of airfields it could operate out of would be relatively limited given its landing gear track.
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline bobbymike

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 7046
"The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection." - Thomas Paine

"On what principle is it that with nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?" - Lord Macaulay

Offline Triton

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 9011
  • Donald McKelvy
    • Deep Blue to Wild Blue
Re: Stratolaunch Systems Roc
« Reply #75 on: February 26, 2015, 10:47:19 am »
Uploaded on Dec 13, 2011

Stratolaunch Systems is pioneering innovative solutions to revolutionize space transportation. Watch the video or visit http://www.stratolaunch.com to learn more.


Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #76 on: February 27, 2015, 08:19:42 pm »
That video dates from 2011. They have changed some things since then. There's also some recent video of the aircraft under construction.

Offline Michel Van

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 3600
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #77 on: March 01, 2015, 03:38:24 am »
From june 2013
the spaceX Falcon rocket is replace by Pegasus like solid rocket with third stage with liquid fuel engine.
and it have to carry the Dream Chaser into orbit

« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 08:26:36 pm by Michel Van »
I love Strange Technology

Offline bobbymike

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 7046
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #78 on: March 01, 2015, 10:52:36 am »
According to the latest information from Stratolaunch, the Orbital Sciences-built Thunderbolt will be 131-ft long, and weigh around 550,000 lb

The three-stage vehicle will use ATK-provided solid rocket motors for the first and second stages, while the third will be powered by two liquid-fueled Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C engines
-------------------------------------------------------------------
I searched Thunderbolt and couldn't find anything specific on the solid rocket motors - thrust, diameter, etc. - has anyone else come across anything?
"The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection." - Thomas Paine

"On what principle is it that with nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?" - Lord Macaulay

Offline sferrin

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 9061
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #79 on: March 01, 2015, 11:20:42 am »
In a way, I'm a little surprised they went with solid propellent.  I know, it's MUCH less complicated than liquid fuel but the weight penalty. . .
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline Orionblamblam

  • Secret Projects Guru
  • Top Contributor
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 6746
    • Aerospace Projects Review
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #80 on: March 01, 2015, 01:19:40 pm »
In a way, I'm a little surprised they went with solid propellent.  I know, it's MUCH less complicated than liquid fuel but the weight penalty. . .

It makes a great deal of sense to go with a solid rocket.

For starters, solids are easier to deal with operationally than liquids. A setup like this is going to be complex enough; liquids hold the potential for destroying the whole vehicle with a simple leak. Plus solids are easier to develop (usually). Thus a solid gets you up sooner, easier.

As you point out, solids are heavier. In this case, that's a *bonus.* In aerospace almost nothing comes in on weight and with the promised performance. So if they get close with the solids, then they have  a lot of margin.

So... if they make a go of it with a solid, then:
1) They already have flight experience, which makes going to a liquid upper stage easier
2) Since they're used to hauling around a needlessly massive booster than can *just* put up a useful payload... a new liquid booster not only becomes an easier prospect, the potential for greatly improved payload performance exists.
Aerospace Projects Review


And so the endless circle of life comes to an end, meaningless and grim. Why did they live, and why did they die? No reason. Two hundred million years of evolution snuffed out, for in the end Nature is horrific and teaches us nothing

Offline Hobbes

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 503
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #81 on: March 02, 2015, 08:37:36 am »

As you point out, solids are heavier. In this case, that's a *bonus.* In aerospace almost nothing comes in on weight and with the promised performance. So if they get close with the solids, then they have  a lot of margin.

 :o
Explain to me how a heavy booster that ends up being heavier than designed could increase their weight margin?

Offline sferrin

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 9061
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #82 on: March 02, 2015, 08:42:02 am »

As you point out, solids are heavier. In this case, that's a *bonus.* In aerospace almost nothing comes in on weight and with the promised performance. So if they get close with the solids, then they have  a lot of margin.

 :o
Explain to me how a heavy booster that ends up being heavier than designed could increase their weight margin?

That's not what he said.
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline Hobbes

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 503
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #83 on: March 02, 2015, 12:01:05 pm »
How else could I parse "In aerospace almost nothing comes in on weight and with the promised performance"?

That's why I'm asking for clarification.

Offline sferrin

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 9061
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #84 on: March 02, 2015, 12:13:01 pm »
How else could I parse "In aerospace almost nothing comes in on weight and with the promised performance"?

That's why I'm asking for clarification.

He's saying if they come in okay with solid motors that leaves weight margin for if they decide they want to go with liquids down the road.
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline Orionblamblam

  • Secret Projects Guru
  • Top Contributor
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 6746
    • Aerospace Projects Review
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #85 on: March 02, 2015, 04:48:00 pm »

He's saying if they come in okay with solid motors that leaves weight margin for if they decide they want to go with liquids down the road.

Indeed so.

Look... if you're a modern aerospace engineer, trained up in the ways of razor-thin margins and overpromising, and your customer comes to you and says "I want a payload of 13,000 kg," you design for 13,000 kg. If you do your best and you come up short... you're in trouble. If you design to use a heavier system like solids and you come up short, you might be able to save your bacon by going to liquids. If you design for solids and actually squeak by, then by going to liquids you have an automatic performance improvement.

In other words: if you design for solids, you can always improve your performance by going to liquids. If you design for liquids, you have *already* designed for the best that can be done. If you come up short, there's not a whole lot you can do.
Aerospace Projects Review


And so the endless circle of life comes to an end, meaningless and grim. Why did they live, and why did they die? No reason. Two hundred million years of evolution snuffed out, for in the end Nature is horrific and teaches us nothing

Offline flanker

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 803
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #86 on: June 01, 2015, 08:34:10 am »
And then there was none...

Quote
Its strategy has already undergone several changes, and right now what will be strapped under that huge wing is not clear. Originally, SpaceX was to provide the booster rocket; Vulcan then switched to relying on rocket-maker Orbital ATK.
As recently as last fall, Beames spoke about a plan to put a human-crewed spacecraft developed by Sierra Nevada on the tip of the Orbital booster rocket.
But now that human spaceflight plan is shelved, along with Orbital’s planned rocket.
Beames said Orbital’s rocket “was not hitting the economic sweet spot to generate revenue,” so Vulcan has reopened the design plan and is “evaluating over 70 different launch vehicle variants.”
This shift won’t affect the timetable for flying the carrier plane, he said, but it could mean “maybe a little delay” in the plans to use it to launch spacecraft into orbit.
Source; http://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/space-wa2/

First SpaceX pulled out, now Orbital-ATK.
Push the envelope,watch it bend.

Offline RanulfC

  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 418
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #87 on: June 01, 2015, 04:05:41 pm »
And then there was none...

Quote
Its strategy has already undergone several changes, and right now what will be strapped under that huge wing is not clear. Originally, SpaceX was to provide the booster rocket; Vulcan then switched to relying on rocket-maker Orbital ATK.
As recently as last fall, Beames spoke about a plan to put a human-crewed spacecraft developed by Sierra Nevada on the tip of the Orbital booster rocket.
But now that human spaceflight plan is shelved, along with Orbital’s planned rocket.
Beames said Orbital’s rocket “was not hitting the economic sweet spot to generate revenue,” so Vulcan has reopened the design plan and is “evaluating over 70 different launch vehicle variants.”
This shift won’t affect the timetable for flying the carrier plane, he said, but it could mean “maybe a little delay” in the plans to use it to launch spacecraft into orbit.
Source; http://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/space-wa2/

First SpaceX pulled out, now Orbital-ATK.


I read it as SL decided to not pursue the Orbital all-solid LV which make sense since it would neither be inexpensive nor very capable of reaching the targeted payload-to-orbit.


Key statement I thought was:
"The premise for all three companies is that launch vehicles must be reusable so getting to space becomes dramatically cheaper"


Which right there leaves out Orbital's design as none of it was reusable. The fact they are going back over 70 designs (which I seem to recall is more than they initially looked into) will hopefully lead to a more development and operationally capable vehicle. The LV was always going to be the long-pole in the development and operations of the concept. I just hope this will be open enough to get away from the idea of a self-lifting booster being a requirement. Probably not I suspect but there are a LOT of better ways to do it than has been suggested by the presentations so far.


Randy

Offline Orionblamblam

  • Secret Projects Guru
  • Top Contributor
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 6746
    • Aerospace Projects Review
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #88 on: July 09, 2015, 12:32:27 pm »
My stab at a 3-view of the Stratolaunch system. From US Launch Vehicle Projects #2.
Aerospace Projects Review


And so the endless circle of life comes to an end, meaningless and grim. Why did they live, and why did they die? No reason. Two hundred million years of evolution snuffed out, for in the end Nature is horrific and teaches us nothing

Offline flanker

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 803
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #89 on: June 20, 2016, 10:43:52 am »
Quote
We are developing and fostering lots of different partnerships,” said Chuck Beames, president of Vulcan Aerospace and executive director of Stratolaunch Systems. “I would say that no company is ruled out right now.

Translation; we are completely alone. Plz, send help.

http://spacenews.com/stratolaunch-seeks-launch-partners-as-aircraft-nears-completion/
Push the envelope,watch it bend.

Offline Skyblazer

  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 12922
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #90 on: June 20, 2016, 11:18:16 am »
My stab at a 3-view of the Stratolaunch system. From US Launch Vehicle Projects #2.

Very nice work, Orionblamblam! Thanks for sharing.

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #91 on: June 20, 2016, 11:34:35 am »
Quote
We are developing and fostering lots of different partnerships,” said Chuck Beames, president of Vulcan Aerospace and executive director of Stratolaunch Systems. “I would say that no company is ruled out right now.

Translation; we are completely alone. Plz, send help.


They have a horrible chicken and egg situation: they have neither chicken nor egg. How do you get customers when you don't have a rocket? And how do you fund a rocket if you don't have customers?



Offline sferrin

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 9061
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #93 on: June 20, 2016, 01:03:22 pm »
Darn.  :'(  If they ever fly it maybe it will help things but how long does it sit idle waiting for a custom rocket to be built? 
« Last Edit: June 20, 2016, 01:06:35 pm by sferrin »
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #94 on: June 20, 2016, 04:23:36 pm »
.

Offline Archibald

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1561
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #95 on: June 27, 2016, 11:52:03 pm »
very nice. So that is left of the 747 cockpit ? Damn, they really butchered it. Gone is the 747 hump !
Conservatoire de l'Air et de l'Espace d'Aquitaine - Bordeaux - Mérignac / Dassault aviation museum
http://www.caea.info/en/plan.php

Offline flateric

  • Deputy Administrator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 7946
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #96 on: June 28, 2016, 02:37:37 am »
...
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #97 on: June 28, 2016, 11:14:41 am »
very nice. So that is left of the 747 cockpit ? Damn, they really butchered it. Gone is the 747 hump !

The fuselage is all new. They're using the engines, landing gear and some avionics from the 747s.


Offline sferrin

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 9061
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #98 on: October 10, 2016, 01:23:43 pm »
http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Orbital_ATK_and_Stratolaunch_Systems_Partner_to_Offer_Competitive_Space_Launch_Opportunities_999.html


Yo Dog. . .


Whoops.  I'd mistakenly taken that to be a Spaceship 1, and it's launcher.  Apparently it's an even less likely payload of THREE Pegasus XLs.  Unless they have nukes on the front end I don't know why you'd be launching three of them at a time.  (And if they were weapons you'd need a whole lot more than 1 airplane.)
« Last Edit: October 10, 2016, 01:27:43 pm by sferrin »
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline bobbymike

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 7046
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #99 on: October 10, 2016, 01:44:27 pm »
http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Orbital_ATK_and_Stratolaunch_Systems_Partner_to_Offer_Competitive_Space_Launch_Opportunities_999.html


Yo Dog. . .


Whoops.  I'd mistakenly taken that to be a Spaceship 1, and it's launcher.  Apparently it's an even less likely payload of THREE Pegasus XLs.  Unless they have nukes on the front end I don't know why you'd be launching three of them at a time.  (And if they were weapons you'd need a whole lot more than 1 airplane.)
You had me at nukes.............  ;D
"The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection." - Thomas Paine

"On what principle is it that with nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?" - Lord Macaulay

Offline Archibald

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1561
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #100 on: October 11, 2016, 04:16:17 am »
As I said in another forum - Roc can carry 250 tons while a Pegasus is 24 tons, so do the math - they could carry and launch ten of them ! (this is tongue-in-cheek. Roc is ridiculously oversized and overexpensive for Pegasus.
My gut feeling about this ?
"Folks, the Roc, world most largest airplane, is nearly finished and will fly soon. But we 'll have no rocket in time, which is annoying since that bird was especially build to air launch a big rocket. What rockets are currently air launched we could use off the shelf ? only one, what, the Pegasus ? Right, so let's take the Pegasus and hang it below the Roc... "
« Last Edit: October 11, 2016, 04:18:35 am by Archibald »
Conservatoire de l'Air et de l'Espace d'Aquitaine - Bordeaux - Mérignac / Dassault aviation museum
http://www.caea.info/en/plan.php

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #101 on: October 11, 2016, 06:22:46 pm »
"Folks, the Roc, world most largest airplane, is nearly finished and will fly soon. But we 'll have no rocket in time, which is annoying since that bird was especially build to air launch a big rocket. What rockets are currently air launched we could use off the shelf ? only one, what, the Pegasus ? Right, so let's take the Pegasus and hang it below the Roc... "

This is a face-saving press announcement, as you note.

The Pegasus has launched about 42 times in 26 years. which works out to about one launch every year and a half (or two launches every three years). There clearly are not that many payloads demanding the Pegasus.

The guy who designed the Pegasus has posted a lot to the NSF group and explained why they built it and what they expected it to do, and also how far they were off in their expectations. He's been quite honest about it. They expected a huge smallsat market that never emerged.

Offline sferrin

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 9061
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #102 on: October 11, 2016, 06:38:58 pm »
"Folks, the Roc, world most largest airplane, is nearly finished and will fly soon. But we 'll have no rocket in time, which is annoying since that bird was especially build to air launch a big rocket. What rockets are currently air launched we could use off the shelf ? only one, what, the Pegasus ? Right, so let's take the Pegasus and hang it below the Roc... "

This is a face-saving press announcement, as you note.

The Pegasus has launched about 42 times in 26 years. which works out to about one launch every year and a half (or two launches every three years). There clearly are not that many payloads demanding the Pegasus.

The guy who designed the Pegasus has posted a lot to the NSF group and explained why they built it and what they expected it to do, and also how far they were off in their expectations. He's been quite honest about it. They expected a huge smallsat market that never emerged.

Has he ever mentioned why it's never been proposed as a missile for the USAF?  Seems like it would be a slam dunk.
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline marauder2048

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 1469
  • "I should really just relax"
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #103 on: October 11, 2016, 07:16:38 pm »

The guy who designed the Pegasus has posted a lot to the NSF group and explained why they built it and what they expected it to do, and also how far they were off in their expectations. He's been quite honest about it. They expected a huge smallsat market that never emerged.

So is there a sweetspot for (US domestic) smallsat launchers? SpaceX didn't deem $9 - $11 million for 1000 - 2000 lbs to be viable.

My understanding is that for Pegasus the cost of operating the host vehicle, Stargazer, turned out to be much greater than anticipated.

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #104 on: October 13, 2016, 03:46:46 pm »

The guy who designed the Pegasus has posted a lot to the NSF group and explained why they built it and what they expected it to do, and also how far they were off in their expectations. He's been quite honest about it. They expected a huge smallsat market that never emerged.

So is there a sweetspot for (US domestic) smallsat launchers? SpaceX didn't deem $9 - $11 million for 1000 - 2000 lbs to be viable.

My understanding is that for Pegasus the cost of operating the host vehicle, Stargazer, turned out to be much greater than anticipated.

I'm blanking on the guy's name, but you can google it easily--hey! I just did that! Pegasus was designed by Dr. Antonio Elias. Anyway, he gave a great presentation at a big AIAA conference where he listed a number of key lessons learned, or "things you should not do" based upon their experience with Pegasus. I believe that one of them was that any air-launched vehicle should not require a dedicated launch vehicle that cannot perform any other mission or requires major modifications. The reason is that the rocket then has to carry the cost of the aircraft. That's a real cost hit for the program: that L-1011 sits on the ground most of the time, but you have to maintain it, you have to insure it, you have to pay pilots to fly it. Even if they are airline pilots, the L-1011 is now unique, so while they fly 777s for an airline, they have to maintain proficiency with the L-1011, so that costs money. Also, there are costs to the rocket itself because it has to be made "man-rated" because it is hanging under an airplane with people on it. That drives up the design and operational costs.

One of the things that is currently under development now is a towed glider aircraft for launching rockets. The logic of that is that a glider has no pilots and no major maintenance costs. So it does not cost a lot of money while sitting around not flying. And it is designed to be towed by a commercial Learjet that can otherwise go do useful things when not serving in an airlaunch capacity. And the rocket does not have to be "man-rated" because it never gets close to the piloted airplane. NASA is working on the concept, but is not actively developing it.

Offline Harrier

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 747
  • BAe P.1216 book: harrier.org.uk/P1216.htm
BAe P.1216 Supersonic ASTOVL Aircraft: www.harrier.org.uk/P1216.htm

100 Years  - Camel, Hurricane, Harrier: www.kingstonaviation.org

Offline TomS

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 2205
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #106 on: May 31, 2017, 12:00:45 pm »
That's a lot of plane to launch a Pegasus XL (for now).

Offline sferrin

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 9061
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #107 on: June 02, 2017, 12:05:58 pm »
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline flateric

  • Deputy Administrator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 7946
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Offline Flyaway

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 736
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #109 on: July 19, 2017, 06:34:37 am »
Air Force secretary hints at military space applications for Stratolaunch super-plane

https://www.geekwire.com/2017/air-force-secretary-highlights-military-space-applications-stratolaunch-super-airplane/

Offline blackstar

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 1605
Re: Stratolaunch
« Reply #110 on: Yesterday at 09:19:40 pm »
Air Force secretary hints at military space applications for Stratolaunch super-plane

https://www.geekwire.com/2017/air-force-secretary-highlights-military-space-applications-stratolaunch-super-airplane/

"Today I had the chance to see firsthand how @Stratolaunch is developing an air-launch platform to make space more accessible"

Wait, that's it? That's the "hint"?

That's typical boilerplate language. It says nothing. It's neither negative nor an endorsement. She was being nice, that is all.