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31 December 2006
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From a researcher at Johns Hopkins U Applied Physics Lab:

Fun facts:

-- 100 year plan for solar system exploration, starting with manned mission to Callisto in 2050 and culminating in a manned mission to Pluto in 2110.

-- multiple in-space propulsion options, inducing gas-core reactors with Brayton-cycle energy conversion for NEP.

-- 4900 MT IMLEO.

-- Supernova launch vehicle, 2.2X scale-up of 1964 MSFC Post-Saturn technology. 2.2 million lb payload, 56 million lbf at liftoff, 45 million lb GLOW

-- Hypernova: 10X scale-up of Supernova, 22 million lb payload, 500 million lbf at liftoff, 450 million lb GLOW (2/3rd of Empire State Building); 1100 ft stack height, 288 ft diameter.

I'm sure the experts on the forum can pick this apart six ways from Sunday, but it's a fun read nonetheless.
I'm intrigued. Question; using 'conventional' technology,(metal tank construction, bell-nozzle engines, LOX+LH2 propellants, etc,) what is the largest launch vehicle capable of being built? Is this even known?

Boeing NOVA T-65D proposal with Solidbooster and Lox/Lh2 upperstage
had to be assembly and launch in a crossover of VAB and overground ICBM Silo !

other like Martin proposed channels were NOVA swim on platfrom
and are tug from VAB to launch site or to even a offshore platform.

Sorry i don't find the PDF source for the moment
Sounds like the kind of thing Sea Dragon would be useful for.
Sounds like the kind of thing Sea Dragon would be useful for.

Forgot about the Sea Dragon, :-[

I was thinking purely in terms of vehicle size/weight/payload, rather than feasibility of launch facilities,etc, though I can see how those would be limiting factors themselves.
Like ships and aircraft, there must a size beyond which the technology no longer works.......

GeorgeA said:
From a researcher at Johns Hopkins U Applied Physics Lab:


Thanks GeorgeA for the interesting .pdf !

It must be getting near the end of the week, so I'm getting a bit silly.

Figure 3 caption at bottom of pg. 271:
"Figure 3. Comparisons (approximately to scale) of various existing and conceptual launch vehicles."

I wonder if they really were thinking of launching the Washington Momument or Statue of Liberty !

By the way, I saw the main injector plate for the M-1 (Figure 2 in yur .pdf) at the
Evergreen Air Museum in Oregon. I was there abut a month ago, and it is on display! FYI.


Yeah, kind of mind boggling that aiming towards economies of scale only lead them to think of launching a single huge rocket, ignoring the other alternative - how it'd be just easier to launch more of the normal sized ones... Or perhaps even launch smaller single vehicles many times each.

Fundamentally different thinking from the programs of record (Apollo especially being the worst example!) is required if there is going to be sustained and expanding spaceflight.
Tried putting in 'Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory' as a tag just now, but it was just a tad too long apparently.
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