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Capsule-like SSTO?

cluttonfred

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Does anyone remember a design for a SSTO reusable launch vehicle, likely from the 1970s or so, that looked a lot like a giant Apollo Command Module? I have this image in my head and it's bugging me.

Cheers,

Matthew
 

Michel Van

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there were allot giant Apollo Command Module SSTO study

Convair proposed SSTO shuttle SERV in that form
http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/shuttle.htm

Nortrop had also something like that

Boeing had a big one
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,3722.msg29200.html#msg29200
 

cluttonfred

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Nope, not any of those. The one I have in mind may have been an unmanned cargo vehicle though I can't be sure. It had many smallish engines in a circle around the bottom of the craft but overall it was basically a squat cone.
 

sferrin

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Any of these?

http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/nova.htm
 

cluttonfred

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Nope, it was just one big conical capsule with rounded edges, not a capsule on top of a rocket, just the capsule.
 

Howedar

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I recognize the date is all wrong, but Mole's description sounds like a dead ringer for DC-X.
 

cluttonfred

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Nope, the one I remember makes even the DC-X look pointy. It was a big, rounded conical capsule, about as big in diameter as high, with many engines recessed into the bottom in a circle. I think it was a heavy-lift cargo carrier for space station, etc. construction. I used to have a copy of T.A. Heppenheimer's TOWARD DISTANT SUNS which I can't find now, or it may have been in COLONIES IN SPACE (same author) which I had from the library years ago.
 

Michel Van

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it may have been in COLONIES IN SPACE (same author) which I had from the library years ago.

that Book had the Boeing SSTO proposal
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,3722.msg29200.html#msg29200


i will dig true my archive for more "Capsule like SSTO"
 

martinbayer

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There are a few more potential candidates that to some degree match the description. A number of VTVL SSTO designs are shown here:
http://www.astronautix.com/lvfam/vtovl.htm

Note for example the NAA air augmented VTVL SSTO:
http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/norvtovl.htm

Detko's ATV is on the small side and fairly slender, but is pretty much a pure cone with a ring of rocket engines:
http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/atv.htm

The Gomersall SSTO that Scott features on his site is perhaps another potential suspect:
http://www.up-ship.com/drawndoc/drawndocspaceshuttle.htm

Koelle's Neptun is another possibility, even though it's a three stage design for lunar missions:
http://www.ilr.tu-berlin.de/koelle/Neptun/NEP2015.pdf

While it doesn't match the timeframe and cargo mission, shapewise the Kankoh Maru might fit the bill:
http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/kanhmaru.htm
http://www.irs.uni-stuttgart.de/institut/mitarbeiter/laufer/LBQ/LBQ-Report2005.pdf

The same is true for Gary Hudson's Phoenix designs:
http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/phoenixc.htm
http://www.1000planets.com/papers/phoenix-history.pdf

The AAS paper PDF also has a VTVL SSTO concept evolution tree that shows a few more possible matches, like Ehricke's Nexus, the already mentioned SERV, the SSX/X-Rocket, and General Dynamics' Millenium Express:
http://www.spacefuture.com/archive/single_stage_to_orbit_vertical_takeoff_and_landing_concept_technology_challenges.shtml

There is also a picture showing a 'family portrait' of different VTVL SSTOs that gives a good impression of comparative sizes of some of these vehicles. As far as I can tell, the original source of that illustration is this article:
Hoeser, S. J., "Technology Readiness Review of the SpaceShip Experimental (SSX)", Journal of Practical Applications in Space, Vol. 1, No. 2, Winter 1990, pp. 37-49.
It is however also shown on page 55 of 'Halfway to Anywhere' by G. Harry Stine, and Dietrich Koelle used it in his AIAA paper "Options for a next generation European launch system", AIAA-1993-4128, as well as his TransCost 7.2 Handbook of Cost Engineering for Space Transportation.
I tried to include it in this post, but unfortunately neither an "Additional Options" nor an "Attach" button were visible when I drafted this post.

Hope this helps,

Martin
 

cluttonfred

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Michel Van said:
it may have been in COLONIES IN SPACE (same author) which I had from the library years ago.

that Book had the Boeing SSTO proposal
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,3722.msg29200.html#msg29200


i will dig true my archive for more "Capsule like SSTO"

That's it, I knew I had seen it in the Heppenheimer book but I missed this when you posted it, thanks Michel Van. It was definitely the Boeing "Big Onion" SSTO. I had forgotten that it was a reusable design, too.
 

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