Cargo Rocket Space System Box Wing, the "CRoSSBoW" Air Launch To Orbit concept

RanulfC

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Mar 6, 2009
Messages
993
Reaction score
495
Ok, NSF has an article on the proposed "StratoLaunch" system in which a picture appears:

IDed as the "ALTO-Crossbow System" (ALTO= Air Launch To Orbit), with "Crossbow" as "Cargo Rocket Space System Box Wing" which doing a google search (and a search here which turned up one "page" with nothing on it????) brought up this site:
http://eddy.nps.edu/IDDR/techMatrixPages/3d/crossbow/crossbow.html

... And that's it...

I found this paper here on NTRS:
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20070002822_2007001607.pdf

Which mentions that the name "Crossbow" was presented to NASA somewhere around 2005 but by this 2007 paper had come to mean any and all "ALTO" concepts and specifically the papers focus on findng the baseline "rules" for ALTO economics and feasability.

So does anyone know anything MORE on this particular project?

Randy
 

Attachments

  • Crossbow ALTO concept.jpg
    Crossbow ALTO concept.jpg
    11.3 KB · Views: 804

Byeman

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
900
Reaction score
88
Yes, the presentation is on NSF. And it was provided by one of the paper's authors. It doesn't exist anywhere else. The author is on NSF, so ask him.
 

RanulfC

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Mar 6, 2009
Messages
993
Reaction score
495
Byeman said:
Yes, the presentation is on NSF. And it was provided by one of the paper's authors. It doesn't exist anywhere else. The author is on NSF, so ask him.
We talking on L2? And who's the author?

Randy
 

diluther

ACCESS: Restricted
Joined
Apr 21, 2012
Messages
24
Reaction score
1
Website
exospace.wordpress.com
This post provides more information including advantages of dropped upper stages as opposed to winged upper stage parallel flight separation.

http://thehuwaldtfamily.org/jtrl/research/Space/Launch%20Vehicles/Air%20Launch/Air%20Launch%20To%20Orbit%20-%20ALTO%20-%20Crossbow-concept,%20MSFC.pdf
 

PMN1

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
914
Reaction score
491
Interesting idea, anyone want to hazard a guess at the commercial viability of the passenger/freight module option verses a standard design aircraft, would there be an increase in drag?
 

GTX

All hail the God of Frustration!!!
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
3,803
Reaction score
2,309
Website
beyondthesprues.com
Definitely interesting. Would be great to see at least a prototype.
 

PMN1

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
914
Reaction score
491
Does Stratolaunch plan the same pitch up launch?
 

PMN1

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
914
Reaction score
491
When is the earliest the wing shape used by the system can be built?
 

Byeman

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
900
Reaction score
88
PMN1 said:
When is the earliest the wing shape used by the system can be built?

You really had to ask that? The obivous answer is when the money is available.
 

PMN1

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
914
Reaction score
491
Byeman said:
PMN1 said:
When is the earliest the wing shape used by the system can be built?

You really had to ask that? The obivous answer is when the money is available.

What i'm thinking is 'are there airfrane design/construction' reasons that this could not be proposed earlier?
 

Byeman

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
900
Reaction score
88
There isn't a technology or material properties constraint, it was only a matter of somebody coming up with the idea and the money to implement it. It could have been done decades ago.
 

blackstar

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Messages
1,849
Reaction score
381
PMN1 said:
Interesting idea, anyone want to hazard a guess at the commercial viability of the passenger/freight module option verses a standard design aircraft, would there be an increase in drag?

I'd say pretty much non-viable.

Something you gotta understand about commercial aircraft is that they are designed from the bottom of the wheels to the top of the tail to achieve maximum efficiency. They are highly specialized. Trying to convert something that is not designed for the purpose to carry passengers is just not going to be efficient. Besides, in order to be commercially viable you have to sell hundreds, if not thousands of them. A compromise design would never work for that.
 

RanulfC

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Mar 6, 2009
Messages
993
Reaction score
495
PMN1 said:
Interesting idea, anyone want to hazard a guess at the commercial viability of the passenger/freight module option verses a standard design aircraft, would there be an increase in drag?

Yes there would probably be some additional drag, the efficiency here comes from keeping the air-frames, passengers, and cargo all moving as much as possible as fast as possible with minimum ground time.

blackstar said:
I'd say pretty much non-viable.

Something you gotta understand about commercial aircraft is that they are designed from the bottom of the wheels to the top of the tail to achieve maximum efficiency. They are highly specialized. Trying to convert something that is not designed for the purpose to carry passengers is just not going to be efficient. Besides, in order to be commercially viable you have to sell hundreds, if not thousands of them. A compromise design would never work for that.
It's not a "compromise" design as each "pod" would be optimized for its role. Highly specialized usually means highly costly too, and in fact the overall "efficiency" of passenger and cargo aircraft suffers seriously from the time it take to unload, load, and then launch again. Containerizing cargo actually increases overall throughput and eifficiency if done correctly, there is every indication it could do the same with passengers given the right airframes.

In many ways it makes a lot more sense than the Blended Wing Bodies in that it wouldn't require as many and as large of changes to the already existing airport infrastructure as it can use a major portion of the already in-place systems where as the BWB can't.

It's true that you'd have to design, build and sell hundreds of airframes (probably) along with thousands of "pods' for various purposes, however the work so far is showing that the individual airframes are going to be less expensive than a full-up aircraft and the pod economics seems to point in the same direction.

Randy
 

blackstar

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Messages
1,849
Reaction score
381
RanulfC said:
It's not a "compromise" design as each "pod" would be optimized for its role. Highly specialized usually means highly costly too, and in fact the overall "efficiency" of passenger and cargo aircraft suffers seriously from the time it take to unload, load, and then launch again. Containerizing cargo actually increases overall throughput and eifficiency if done correctly, there is every indication it could do the same with passengers given the right airframes.

It absolutely is a compromise. That design is not optimized for fuel economy (high wing, twin booms--lots of drag). And it would carry around more mass than it needs to, such as the connectors for the pod and the twin booms.

If this makes so much sense, can you point to any airline designer that has seriously considered such a design in the last 20 years?
 

RanulfC

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Mar 6, 2009
Messages
993
Reaction score
495
blackstar said:
RanulfC said:
It's not a "compromise" design as each "pod" would be optimized for its role. Highly specialized usually means highly costly too, and in fact the overall "efficiency" of passenger and cargo aircraft suffers seriously from the time it take to unload, load, and then launch again. Containerizing cargo actually increases overall throughput and eifficiency if done correctly, there is every indication it could do the same with passengers given the right airframes.

It absolutely is a compromise. That design is not optimized for fuel economy (high wing, twin booms--lots of drag). And it would carry around more mass than it needs to, such as the connectors for the pod and the twin booms.

I was actually addressing your comment "Trying to convert something that is not designed for the purpose to carry passengers is just not going to be efficient" specifically since the pods are going to be optimized for their respective role while the "airframe" itself will be less "economic" for fuel there would be savings due to less "down" time between flights and an overall higher flight rate. Fuel efficiency is currently one of the highest rated requirements for commercial aircraft, but this "priority" arrangment has changed before and could again.

If this makes so much sense, can you point to any airline designer that has seriously considered such a design in the last 20 years?
Boeing has looked at it, Airbus is part of the group studing a similar system for Europe, the main reasoning being that the overall passenger through-put on the larger, high capacity aircraft is hitting a limit and every study has shown that breaking up the single large loads into more easily managed smaller payloads is going to be a better path over the long run. The problem is that any study or work that assumes the use of current "specialized" aircraft requires major expansion of airports and processing facilities, along with a major increase in the number of aircraft that have to be bought and serviced per passenger load. In addition this also increases the fuel needs, reduces passenger comfort and traffic control issues.

One solution is a BIGGER aircraft such as the BWB but that brings in it's own issues with needing major changes to airport and processing facility infrastructure simply to allow the BWB to interface with passenger terminals. Worse from many airline perspectives the BWB is only going to make the "hub" situation worse with longer on-load/off-load times and much greater passengers numbers that have to be processed and routed to the "nodal" flight assignments which in and of itself is going to require more "nodal" aircraft, which are going to be competeing with the BWB for space at the terminal or new terminals. Passenger survey's have shown that an inheirent issue with the BWB is going to be passenger acceptance due to lack of windows and "off-center" passenger seating arrangements.

Another solution is something similar to the suggested system which would de-couple passenger in/out-processing, and "cabin" refurbishment between flights and drastically shorten the ground loiter time leading to a higher throughput rate overall.

The "Crossbow" style airframe is only one of several different types of vehicle being looked at and frankly it WAS specifically "designed" with Air-Launch rocket vehicles over other uses. Another example would be those suggested by Mike Snead:
http://mikesnead.net/

With his "Configurable Air Transport" system, though it would require two different airframes with all the extra design, construction, and operational issues that entails. Still it's been noted that combining the BWB with such a system eliminates a majority of the airport and passenger terminal issues as the "un-loading/loading" would be de-coupled from the actual facilties themselves.

"Clip-Air" is a similar concept though as I understand it they would like to develop it in the direction of combining with the European trans system.
http://clipair.epfl.ch/home
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=19696.0

Though these are all "concepts" at this stage the very real need for more efficent air transportation has not been lost on commecial and military planners. Modular transportation has worked to make just about every other form of transportation more efficent, more economical, and to highly increase overall utility. It's probably past time that air transportation took the next logical step.
But "change" is difficult, especially given the nature of the change suggested and there is resistanct to undertaking the rather radical changes needed to bring these concepts into real-world use. However the writing is clear and despite the resistance I fully expect to see something similar to these concepts flying in the near future even if only for research purposes.

Randy
 
Top