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Air-Launching Satellites

XP67_Moonbat

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Boeing's been looking at hypersonics for a while so I guess this new concept shouldn't really be a surprise. I just dug this concept from wayback:

http://up-ship.com/apr/extras/boasp1.jpg

Now, getting back to the subject at hand, here's a bit that's really getting me wondering. And I quote: "The first stage connects to the rest of the stack via a nose-mounted folding interstage arrangement, which Boeing says is fully reusable apart from frangible pyrotechnic separation nuts. The interstage carries the structural loads while attached to the second stage; after separation, the component folds flush with the nose for return to the launch site."

At first I was thinking well maybe it's kind of an over and under arrangement kinda like the Super Hustler. That didn't seem right. So then I'm since I'm picturing the second stage as kind of a mini-ASTROX, I figured well maybe the nose of our mini XB-70 fits inside Stage 2's exhaust. That still doesn't synch up with what the article said.

But the part about the folding interstage is what really has me guessing. Hmmmm.
 

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blackstar

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Got it.
 

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XP67_Moonbat

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Wow! I had just started doing some paper napkin doodles last night at Applebee's thanks to my extended wait on a chicken wrap.

The only thing that threw me for a loop was the folding interstage setup. Here I was thinking of standard rocket interstages (like the LEM adapter panels on an S-IVB stage) or maybe even a collapsible version of an open interstage like you'd see on Russian rockets.

I didn't think to consider arms of some type. I also sketched the first stage with twin tails.

But I'm happy I at least got the alignment of the stages right.

I was close! Thanks for the post, Dwayne!
 

dark sidius

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Thank you for the picture, very interesting but the size of the launcher is not the good size because the first stage is 22m in lenght and the second stage is 11 m but nice concept and may be the first totaly reusable launcher may be it will be fund by black budget for a military system.
 

dark sidius

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Sorry I make a mistake this is the total lenght 75 feet so each vehicle is 37 feet in lenght.
 

XP67_Moonbat

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With defense budgets the way they are these days, I highly doubt this will get funded.

They can't even get the X-51 or HTV-2 to work perfectly and those are funded white world projects. Having a working black version of either while having a duplicate white version that doesn't work would be a horrible waste of taxpayer money.

I highly doubt they'll appropriate funds for this. Boeing's trying to drum up some new business on the space front. Case in point: the manned X-37C variant they were talking about back in the fall. Hey, who doesn't want new business right now? But money's tight everywhere at the moment.

Besides, Boeing's had a number of hypersonic concepts out there for years and so far all we've seen is vaporware. This a nice concept, don't get me wrong. But I think it might wind up on the pile of past hypersonic concepts, Boeing or otherwise.

If we haven't seen funded operational hardware by now, we're still gonna be waiting awhile.
 

blackstar

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archipeppe said:
blackstar said:

Mmmm...rather odd.

Thanks Blackstar for the find!!

Not much of a find. It's in Aviation Week, and I steal the office copy before anybody else does (because honestly, nobody else reads it).

The surprising thing was that I was able to capture that image. I won't tell you how I did it, but it should not have worked...
 

blackstar

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XP67_Moonbat said:
With defense budgets the way they are these days, I highly doubt this will get funded.

They can't even get the X-51 or HTV-2 to work perfectly and those are funded white world projects. Having a working black version of either while having a duplicate white version that doesn't work would be a horrible waste of taxpayer money.

I highly doubt they'll appropriate funds for this. Boeing's trying to drum up some new business on the space front. Case in point: the manned X-37C variant they were talking about back in the fall. Hey, who doesn't want new business right now? But money's tight everywhere at the moment.

Besides, Boeing's had a number of hypersonic concepts out there for years and so far all we've seen is vaporware. This a nice concept, don't get me wrong. But I think it might wind up on the pile of past hypersonic concepts, Boeing or otherwise.

If we haven't seen funded operational hardware by now, we're still gonna be waiting awhile.

I would make a distinction here:

X-51 and HTV-2 are hypersonic experimental projects. I know a hypersonics expert (former head of hypersonics research at NASA) and he says that they have made slow, but incremental progress on those projects. The biggest problem has been funding. (It's actually rather nuts. One of the things holding back the X-51 was not the vehicle itself, but things like the launch aircraft and the launch range. They could have shot off four vehicles in a year, but the support systems kept holding them back from doing that. The vehicles were built.) What they really need is more money to fund more flights, but the administration is not interested in this kind of research, which is their prerogative.

What Boeing is proposing here is an operational vehicle for launching small satellites, and it requires hypersonic scramjet technology. That's really pushing things. Ideally, somebody should prove that scramjets can work before proposing building vehicles that rely upon them.

I agree with you that this is not likely to get funding. That said, DARPA is looking for ideas, and Boeing is proposing one.
 

blackstar

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Added the rest of the article to the earlier post. Go see it.
 

dark sidius

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I think there is enough money in the black world to create this kind of thing, there is progress made on it programm after programm.. Look all the concept has inward turning inlet instead of 2d inlets. Waverider will work with programm like HTV-2 piece by piece hypersonic progress and I croos the finger to see the first prototype flying in ten years. There is a lot of funding programm wo can go in it, Air Force RBS, X-37, may be Alasa. And we can imagine this concept with a bigger launcher like Stratolaunch, there is a lot of people who want a reusable cheap launcher, and after the X-51 the system can accelerate to reborn in the Boeing concept.
 

flateric

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http://www.oosa.unvienna.org/pdf/pres/stsc2008/tech-38E.pdf
 

DSE

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blackstar said:
There is an illustration in the print version of the magazine. Not sure I can capture it.

Same in the recent paper, Responsive and Affordable Launch of Small Satellites: A Reusable Air-Breathing Concept, by Kevin G. Bowcutt and Thomas R. Smith, AIAA-RS-2012-5001, AIAA Reinventing Space Conference 2012.
 

DSE

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flateric said:
Bowcutt is one who stays behind origins of HyFly back in 96 too
and also invented a toilet overflow prevention device
I don't believe that to be the case. I believe the Boeing involvement here was the old MacDac Phantom Works group in St Louis and not the Huntington Beach group of Bowcutt.
 

mz

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That's a crazy system for putting up four nanosats. It would take billions to develop these two new airbreathers. How many hundred flights are they going to make? How many Pegasus or Falcon 1:s or ex Soviet ICBM:s you could fly with that money?

Maybe the air breathers could do something else and that is the real aim. In any case you don't want to operate them in the wide speed and altitude range requiring large thrust to weight - aka space launch.
 

blackstar

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Better image.
 

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blackstar

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The Aviation Week article does not say so (unless I missed it), but this is clearly Boeing's response to the DARPA Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) program:

http://www.darpa.mil/Our_Work/TTO/Programs/Airborne_Launch_Assist_Space_Access_%28ALASA%29.aspx

So the fact that they're unveiling this is not a big mystery--they're responding to a call from DARPA. DARPA will undoubtedly look at the various proposals and pick one or two to fund further. That does not mean that these things will pan out and become operational launch vehicles. Indeed, DARPA has had programs to do this in the past, things like RASCAL and FALCON. I just think that Boeing's idea is really pushing the technology. Of course, I'm sure that they think that doing so is the only way to bring the operational costs down, but it's not like they're taking existing stuff and putting it together, they have to invent all new stuff.
 

sferrin

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And this would be better than Pegasus because. . .?
 

dark sidius

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May be we start to see the results of the different hypersonics programms like Falcon small lauch vehicle, in the white world. Investements are not to high. Boeing recycle trhe white knight two, a waverider like htv-2 and the work made of the xb-70 all together. But I ask myself, why two vehicles? its mean may be that turbine based combined cycle don't work? for this job a single vehicle will be simpler.
 

flateric

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DSE said:
I don't believe that to be the case. I believe the Boeing involvement here was the old MacDac Phantom Works group in St Louis and not the Huntington Beach group of Bowcutt.
I may be plain wrong, but...
http://www.google.com/patents?id=4-gXAAAAEBAJ&printsec=abstract#v=onepage&q&f=false
 

DSE

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flateric said:
DSE said:
I don't believe that to be the case. I believe the Boeing involvement here was the old MacDac Phantom Works group in St Louis and not the Huntington Beach group of Bowcutt.
I may be plain wrong, but...
http://www.google.com/patents?id=4-gXAAAAEBAJ&printsec=abstract#v=onepage&q&f=false

I would say that this is a patent for an axisymmetric scramjet powered missile, but nowhere near the configuration used in HyFly. This shows an annular cross-section scramjet propulsion system wrapped around a missile core utilized for fuel storage and other things. Hyfly uses a totally different mixed cycle propulsion system (DCR- Dual Combustion Ramjet), a very fuel rich subsonic gas generator feeding an circular cross-section dual-mode scramjet attributed to James Kiersey at JHU-APL.



Edited 5-25-12 to add cross-section of HyFly DCR:
 

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dark sidius

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The inward turning inlet is the solution for scramjet it work well see the Hifire fire test succesful this month.
 

flateric

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DSE, thanks for clarification. Shame on me.
 

DSE

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flateric said:
DSE, thanks for clarification. Shame on me.

No biggie. I know Bowcutt can take credit for a wide range of things, but having met Jim Kiersey during some of the ground testing of the DCR I had hoped that wasn't the case here. I wouldn't be surprised to find more than a few similar patents to the one you pointed out each with some minor variation over the years issued to various folks though.
 

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dark sidius said:
The inward turning inlet is the solution for scramjet it work well see the Hifire fire test succesful this month.

I would argue it is "a" not "the" solution. Also, don't believe the AvLeak third time fumble that this was a rectangular to elliptical shape transition inlet. This error began with a Russel Boyce chart at the AIAA Spaceplanes conference and perpetuated itself in subsequent AvLeak articles despite multiple corrections. Doesn't lend AvLeak much credence imo.
 

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dark sidius

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Boeing award a 4.5 millions for ALASAconcept, may be this is a thing to do with the new Boeing air launch concept we see next week
 

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dark sidius said:
Boeing award a 4.5 millions for ALASAconcept, may be this is a thing to do with the new Boeing air launch concept we see next week
According to the study "final results" paper the proposed Boeing ALASA is going to be a top-mounted two-stage all rocket "super-Pegasus" design launched from the back of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

Randy
 

blackstar

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RanulfC said:
dark sidius said:
Boeing award a 4.5 millions for ALASAconcept, may be this is a thing to do with the new Boeing air launch concept we see next week
According to the study "final results" paper the proposed Boeing ALASA is going to be a top-mounted two-stage all rocket "super-Pegasus" design launched from the back of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

We posted the air launched study that was done with NASA support earlier this year. We could search around for that.
 

blackstar

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XP67_Moonbat said:
An oldie but goodie from Boeing. Anybody know what happened to it? Seemed like this concept was quite feasible

I remember the press it got:
http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2000/news_release_000302s.html
http://www.spacedaily.com/news/airlaunch-00a.html
http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/business/boeing_airlaunch_000303.html

plus an Avweek article I've since lost

But does anyone know if a full presentation or paper out there about this? Google wasn't much help.

With responsive space getting more attention these days, you'd think something like Boeing's AirLaunch would be perfect.

Here is from earlier in the thread.
 

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blackstar

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Found it in another thread.
 

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XP67_Moonbat

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http://www.aviationnow.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_06_25_2012_p33-469762.xml&p=1
 

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DSE said:
Same in the recent paper, Responsive and Affordable Launch of Small Satellites: A Reusable Air-Breathing Concept, by Kevin G. Bowcutt and Thomas R. Smith, AIAA-RS-2012-5001, AIAA Reinventing Space Conference 2012.

Links to presentation & paper:

http://www.responsivespace.com/Papers/RS2012/SESSIONS/Session%20V/5001_Bowcutt/5001C.pdf
http://www.responsivespace.com/Papers/RS2012/SESSIONS/Session%20V/5001_Bowcutt/5001P.pdf
 

blackstar

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Thank you for that.

I saw a somewhat cryptic mention on the internet this morning that Stratolaunch may require SpaceX to put a wing on the rocket it is developing for them. That would be interesting, and by interesting, I mean it could have some weird implications.
 

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blackstar said:
Thank you for that.

I saw a somewhat cryptic mention on the internet this morning that Stratolaunch may require SpaceX to put a wing on the rocket it is developing for them. That would be interesting, and by interesting, I mean it could have some weird implications.

You are welcome.

I was going to ask you what you meant by the weird implications of Stratolaunch's requirements on SpaceX then I saw this in the Stratolaunch thread:

XP67_Moonbat said:
 

blackstar

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jjnodice said:
blackstar said:
Thank you for that.

I saw a somewhat cryptic mention on the internet this morning that Stratolaunch may require SpaceX to put a wing on the rocket it is developing for them. That would be interesting, and by interesting, I mean it could have some weird implications.

You are welcome.

I was going to ask you what you meant by the weird implications of Stratolaunch's requirements on SpaceX then I saw this in the Stratolaunch thread:

I didn't have any special insight.

However, earlier this year I was working with a former senior USAF adviser and this subject briefly came up. When he was at USAF, he apparently spent a significant amount of time addressing the subject of AirLaunch (you can look them up). He said that when he started to do the engineering trades on that the whole concept fell apart. It made no sense at all. Part of the problem was that the vehicle fell backwards (downwards) so far and so fast that in order to stop that fall you ended up expending more energy than if you had simply fired it from a standing stop. It's possible--I don't remember this exactly--that it actually resulted in a net LOSS for the vehicle compared to ground launch. Put another way, there was no physical advantage to launching the rocket from an aircraft.

So I asked him about Stratolaunch and he just shook his head. He didn't see how it could work. He didn't do any engineering calculations, but based upon the work he had done looking at AirLaunch, Stratolaunch made no sense.
 

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blackstar said:
jjnodice said:
blackstar said:
Thank you for that.

I saw a somewhat cryptic mention on the internet this morning that Stratolaunch may require SpaceX to put a wing on the rocket it is developing for them. That would be interesting, and by interesting, I mean it could have some weird implications.

You are welcome.

I was going to ask you what you meant by the weird implications of Stratolaunch's requirements on SpaceX then I saw this in the Stratolaunch thread:

I didn't have any special insight.

However, earlier this year I was working with a former senior USAF adviser and this subject briefly came up. When he was at USAF, he apparently spent a significant amount of time addressing the subject of AirLaunch (you can look them up). He said that when he started to do the engineering trades on that the whole concept fell apart. It made no sense at all. Part of the problem was that the vehicle fell backwards (downwards) so far and so fast that in order to stop that fall you ended up expending more energy than if you had simply fired it from a standing stop. It's possible--I don't remember this exactly--that it actually resulted in a net LOSS for the vehicle compared to ground launch. Put another way, there was no physical advantage to launching the rocket from an aircraft.

So I asked him about Stratolaunch and he just shook his head. He didn't see how it could work. He didn't do any engineering calculations, but based upon the work he had done looking at AirLaunch, Stratolaunch made no sense.

You do it for flexibility (this way you can fly to different orbits at different times - flying a dogleg with a pure rocket would not be smart.) and high expansion ratio (low pressure engine like the pressure fed one by Airlaunch LLC gains the most). The altitude and velocity gained are trivial.
 

blackstar

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mz said:
You do it for flexibility (this way you can fly to different orbits at different times - flying a dogleg with a pure rocket would not be smart.) and high expansion ratio

And nobody cares about that.
 

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More in-depth article on the switch to Orbital:
http://news.yahoo.com/orbital-sciences-replaces-spacex-stratolaunch-project-231138310.html

Blackstar:
However, earlier this year I was working with a former senior USAF adviser and this subject briefly came up. When he was at USAF, he apparently spent a significant amount of time addressing the subject of AirLaunch (you can look them up). He said that when he started to do the engineering trades on that the whole concept fell apart. It made no sense at all. Part of the problem was that the vehicle fell backwards (downwards) so far and so fast that in order to stop that fall you ended up expending more energy than if you had simply fired it from a standing stop. It's possible--I don't remember this exactly--that it actually resulted in a net LOSS for the vehicle compared to ground launch. Put another way, there was no physical advantage to launching the rocket from an aircraft.

So I asked him about Stratolaunch and he just shook his head. He didn't see how it could work. He didn't do any engineering calculations, but based upon the work he had done looking at AirLaunch, Stratolaunch made no sense.

I'd question the "context" actually over the reasoning. AirLaunch in effect was directly engineered to meet the specific Air Force "requirements" for the system and did so with ease. Part of the problem was the AF requirement for using the C-17 instead of a C-5 or better yet a "dedicated" 747 conversion with the T-LADS system. As was pointed out to the AF over and over again the way they 'insisted' on doing the job wasn't in any way making the most of the "advantages" of air-launch besides the on-demand orbital requirement.

The AF insistance on using the smaller C-17 immediatly ruled out several already suggested systems as did their insistance on no T-LADS or other release systems that were not mountable on the C-17.

I also suspect that there is a lot of "other" information that probably applies to the equation your source may not be aware of because it hasn't been discussed yet in the context of StratoLaunch.

Specifically I'm looking at the requirement in the above article for a "Fin/Chine" set up for the vehicle which indicates more emphisis on "lift" at release and for the pitch-up manever. Something AirLaunch wasn't allowed to incorperate in any fashion which makes any comparisions difficult at best.

Blackstar:
Quote from: mz on Yesterday at 01:08:10 pm <blockquote>You do it for flexibility (this way you can fly to different orbits at different times - flying a dogleg with a pure rocket would not be smart.) and high expansion ratio
</blockquote>
And nobody cares about that.
Actually the Air Force did, it was in fact the main requirement given for the Air Launch AND the DARPA/NASA study by them. Randy
 

blackstar

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RanulfC said:
Actually the Air Force did, it was in fact the main requirement given for the Air Launch AND the DARPA/NASA study by them. Randy

They didn't fund it. I consider "cares" to mean "willing to pay to make it happen."
 

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