Boeing OTV


Senior Member
26 May 2006
Reaction score

Boeing's inflatable ballute was proposed for NASA's aero-assist orbital
transfer vehicle (OTV).


  • Boeing OTV.JPG
    Boeing OTV.JPG
    87.3 KB · Views: 125
The Boeing bi-conic looks like it could make a good delivery vehicle for dropping munitions from space, a la CAV. Just wondering if this article is from an old Popular Science. If it is, I thank you. I haven't seen these concepts since I was a kid.


Found that old PopSci, Oct. 1983. Arrow down to PAGE 110.

I remember getting that issue at a huge book ages ago. The issue was already about five years old. The university was just tossing out old magazines and books wholesale.

Since I had just seen "2010", the aerobraking scene had stuck with me. So when I saw this article on aerobraking, I snapped it up along with the PM issue on the ASLV to name a couple.

Sadly, I no longer have those magazine. Lost to the sands of time I guess.

So it's good to see these articles once again, online. Gotta love technology.
The ballute concept is still under consideration for planetary missions. I have some info that I can post in the next few days. The problem is that NASA gutted its technology development budget and so they stopped doing any active testing or anything like that. Current concepts of the ballute don't put it around the vehicle, but consider things like inflating a ring, like an inner tube, and deploying it behind the vehicle as a kind of high drag parachute device.
Found it. Here is an excerpt.


  • Ballutes.pdf
    178.1 KB · Views: 15
I've tried posting the full aerocapture briefing a couple of times. I have a 4 meg PowerPoint presentation. I reduced it to a 1 meg pdf and still couldn't post it. Driving me bonkers. But you got the ballutes stuff in the previous post.
Done. Meanwhile, here are a couple of other images.


  • trailing1_ 175 1.jpg
    trailing1_ 175 1.jpg
    179.2 KB · Views: 64
  • AID.NoBG2_300.jpg
    72.5 KB · Views: 56
My personal favorite, for a Neptune mission.


  • Neptune3.jpg
    804.2 KB · Views: 81
Could there be a tactical function for ballutes? I know that Project SUSTAIN is looking at RLV's to get boots on the ground in record time.

But consider the possibility of getting, say, a Spec Ops squad on-station by hypersonic transport or RLV. Maybe dust off some ININGLASS material for background research for that portion of the ride. The RLV wouldn't even need to touch the ground. It's just delivering the said team on-station in record time. Like a glorified Fed-Ex truck.

The squad heads down to the surface via personal-size ballutes. Chuck them from the transport via ejection chute or something.

And finally extraction at the end of the mission would be by plain 'ol Skyhook.

Not too far-fetched. No unobtanium involved. Except for the transport of course.

XP67_Moonbat said:
Could there be a tactical function for ballutes?

They actually started out as high drag devices for bombs and air dropped sensors.
I think the only serious orbital ballute demos were the two done by the russians back in the 90's/00's. If I remember correctly, the first one they never found and think may not have deployed properly. The second they got a signal and it appeared to have deployed correctly, but final impact with the earth seemed to kill off the transmitter. When the searchers finally got to where they think it went down, they found drag marks and truck tire ruts. They suspect local salvagers took off with the demonstrator after it landed. So technically either 0/2 or 1/2 as far as demonstrators go...

Similar threads

Top Bottom