Manned anti-Satellite systems ("space fighters")

TomS

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How were the control surfaces on those Sidewinders supposed to work? In space...
 

Orionblamblam

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TomS said:
How were the control surfaces on those Sidewinders supposed to work? In space...

Sheer coolness factor would cause the missile to maneuver in a purely Lucasian manner, terminating with a Baysian fireball of an explosion.
 

GWrecks

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This should probably go in Theoretical and Speculative Projects, but would it be possible to make a glide vehicle version of the Space Cruiser, and what kind of advantages/disadvantages would go with it?
 

Dilandu

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GWrecks said:
This should probably go in Theoretical and Speculative Projects, but would it be possible to make a glide vehicle version of the Space Cruiser, and what kind of advantages/disadvantages would go with it?

I could see literally none. Why it may need glide? It was supposed to have parawing for controlled descent.
 

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Dilandu said:
GWrecks said:
This should probably go in Theoretical and Speculative Projects, but would it be possible to make a glide vehicle version of the Space Cruiser, and what kind of advantages/disadvantages would go with it?

I could see literally none. Why it may need glide? It was supposed to have parawing for controlled descent.

Giving the re-entry vehicle a decent L/D would give it decent cross-range capability. A parawing would not. Cross range would probably be important for a vehicle like this with limited on-orbit duration,since you'd want to recover the pilot and the onboard systems within the CONUS.
 

Dilandu

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Orionblamblam said:
Giving the re-entry vehicle a decent L/D would give it decent cross-range capability. A parawing would not. Cross range would probably be important for a vehicle like this with limited on-orbit duration,since you'd want to recover the pilot and the onboard systems within the CONUS.

But it would led to great increase of complication (and inevitably - mass) of the spacecraft, since it would be subjected by lengthier thermal & dynamic stresses during re-entry. For the spacecraft, which was designed to be as light and simple as possible - basically a space F-5 light fighter - it would essentially be way into nothing.
 

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Dilandu said:
But it would led to great increase of complication (and inevitably - mass) of the spacecraft, since it would be subjected by lengthier thermal & dynamic stresses during re-entry. For the spacecraft, which was designed to be as light and simple as possible - basically a space F-5 light fighter - it would essentially be way into nothing.

Tradeoffs. If you're happy with your space fighter splashing down in the ocean, with all the logistical headaches that come with it, then by all mens use a low L/D capsule. Or if you are fine with leaving your spaceraft and pilot in orbit for an extra day or so so his low L/D craft can make it to a CONUS base, then, fine. otherwise, crossrange is your friend.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Tradeoffs. If you're happy with your space fighter splashing down in the ocean, with all the logistical headaches that come with it, then by all mens use a low L/D capsule. Or if you are fine with leaving your spaceraft and pilot in orbit for an extra day or so so his low L/D craft can make it to a CONUS base, then, fine. otherwise, crossrange is your friend.

Orionblamblam , the whole idea of "Space Cruiser" was to build it so small & lightweight, that it could be boosted on orbit on the top of SLBM. The Navy lost interest in the initial concept exactly because it was found to be impossible to make spacecraft light enough to be launched by "Poseidon" missile. The latter STAR design was also "the bare minimum" craft, which main advantages over other types was exactly its small size & mass. If it lost those advantages... basically, it would have no advantages at all anymore, and it would be much more effective to just build a new, heavier design.

It's like designing a short-range lightweight point-defense interceptor, which only function is to dart in the sky and shot two wingtip "Sidewinder"s at designated target under ground radar control, and then suggest that it would be better if it have the same range as F-16. Of course it would be better, but the tradeoff would be severe, and your lightweight point-defense interceptor would turn into something strange; medium-weight long-range fighter without serious avionic & with very limited armament. At this point, it would be simpler to just buy F-16 (or Mig-29 ;) from Mother Russia)
 

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Dilandu said:
It's like designing a short-range lightweight point-defense interceptor, which only function is to dart in the sky and shot two wingtip "Sidewinder"s at designated target under ground radar control, and then suggest that it would be better if it have the same range as F-16. Of course it would be better, but the tradeoff would be severe, and your lightweight point-defense interceptor would turn into something strange; medium-weight long-range fighter without serious avionic & with very limited armament. At this point, it would be simpler to just buy F-16 (or Mig-29 ;) from Mother Russia)
Odd that you should pick that example, because the F-16 was a short-range lightweight fighter whose only function was to dart in the sky and fire two wingtip Sidewinders. Then it got improved into something actually useful.
 

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RLBH said:
Dilandu said:
It's like designing a short-range lightweight point-defense interceptor, which only function is to dart in the sky and shot two wingtip "Sidewinder"s at designated target under ground radar control, and then suggest that it would be better if it have the same range as F-16. Of course it would be better, but the tradeoff would be severe, and your lightweight point-defense interceptor would turn into something strange; medium-weight long-range fighter without serious avionic & with very limited armament. At this point, it would be simpler to just buy F-16 (or Mig-29 ;) from Mother Russia)
Odd that you should pick that example, because the F-16 was a short-range lightweight fighter whose only function was to dart in the sky and fire two wingtip Sidewinders. Then it got improved into something actually useful.

Not to drag further off topic but the F-16 was never intended to be short-ranged (conceptualy probably best seen as equivalent to a longer range F-5 with better performance).
 

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GWrecks said:
This should probably go in Theoretical and Speculative Projects, but would it be possible to make a glide vehicle version of the Space Cruiser, and what kind of advantages/disadvantages would go with it?

I could see literally none. Why it may need glide? It was supposed to have parawing for controlled descent.

It really had no need of or advantage to having wings or supersonic (or lower) glide capablity. The original design actually had four (4) "X" configuration "strakes" similar to the original guided reentry vehicle it was based on. Heating calculations showed, (again as it did on the original warhead concept) that the strakes didn't acutally help the hypersonic L/D, (which IIRC was well above 4) and only came into play at medium to low supersonic speeds which was right before impact. And as noted the heating rates made it questionable that they would survive that long anyway.

Dilandu said:
GWrecks said:
This should probably go in Theoretical and Speculative Projects, but would it be possible to make a glide vehicle version of the Space Cruiser, and what kind of advantages/disadvantages would go with it?

I could see literally none. Why it may need glide? It was supposed to have parawing for controlled descent.

Giving the re-entry vehicle a decent L/D would give it decent cross-range capability. A parawing would not. Cross range would probably be important for a vehicle like this with limited on-orbit duration,since you'd want to recover the pilot and the onboard systems within the CONUS.

The Spacecruiser HAD a pretty decent L/D but did the majority of its manuevering at hypersonic speeds. IIRC it could reenter from polar orbit over the US and make a pin-point landing on either the East or West coast. From higher Earth orbit or Lunar return it could enter over the Equator and land in New York if the pilot chose. It is a very effective "lifting body' design though one that we are not used to seeing as such since it seems to lack the design we're used to. But it is a HYPERSONIC lifting body with a very high hypersonic "L/D" and since it reenters at a very shallow angle of attack, (unlike the majority of reentry vehicles we're used to) it retains its velocity quite well.

On-board propulsion had enough propellant to allow a plane-change manuever using that hypersonic L/D from equatorial to polar orbit or vice versa at least once.

It was very much an "F-5" class space fighter design with minimum equipment but as Redding kept pointing out it was pretty easy to launch and recover and could be built robust enough to allow minimum processing between flights. Worst came to worst you could detach the 'inner' hull from the aeroshell and swap outer aeroshells for a faster turn around time. But yes, he also didn't presume a great deal of 'extras' for the design and while allowing for the idea of having mutliple hull cameras and a helmet mounted display for times when the pilot HAD to be inside the vehicle. (Like reentry :) ) For the most part the pilot had his head outside using visual flight rules in space which isn't really all that workable in the long run.

Of course that kind of assumes you actualy NEED a pilot which today isn't a given...

Randy
 

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visual flight rules in space

That sounds quite awesome. Do we have a good idea of the concept of operations of such?

The SpaceCruiser was a fascintating idea of a very 'minimum' manned orbital vehicle but the utility....

Once on-orbit, from what I can gather the SpaceCruiser pilot would have to EVA to unlatch and move the "nose-cone", it was hinged, (see here: https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/th...ystems-space-fighters.3189/page-2#post-192715) and stow it below the vehicle to clear the sensors and forward RCS cluster. Using those and ground based systems it would maneuver into close proximity of the target, (be it a satellite, space station or orbital vehicle, keep in mind this was also proposed as a rescue craft and emergency supply vehicle as well as a 'fighter' craft) where the pilot would open his hatch and raise his seat and using a "Heads-Up-Display" on his helmet move to either near-contact or docking, (some models had a attachment clamp mount near the RCS and sensor cluster) with whatever it was rendezvousing with.



The whole thing was far more ‘space’ (interior) constrained than payload constrained in most regards so actually mounting any sort of weapon system was questionable but the thing to keep in mind is once you moved away from the original and initial design constraints, (needs to fit into a sub launch tube and on top an SLBM booster) then it has the distinction of having a lot more of interior space than you’d normally get from such a configuration. Kind of surprisingly so if you think about it.



I mean, flatten it out a bit and enlarge it and you suddenly find it looking like the spaceship from “Planet of the Apes” (https://culttvman.com/main/doug-cowless-planet-of-the-apes-icarus/) which is probably not a good thing :)

Randy
 

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upon reading some of the material in this thread, I've learned that STAR had an elliptical cross section, instead of the circular section on the Spacecruiser. This made STAR into a lifting body for re-entry.

One article mentioned that the original Spacecruiser had strakes instead. This implies that the strakes were to be used to provide lift upon re-entry. Is that right? I thought strakes were purely for stability. I was under the impression the Spacecruiser would land much like a space capsule, ie not gliding at all just plummeting at a predetermined angle until it slowed enough to deploy chutes. But some things I've read imply the Spacecruiser pilot was to have much more directional control than a capsule.

Also, in either case, STAR or the Spacecruiser, the pilot was to have control over the direction of the craft. On the Starcruiser I would assume this would be done via the strakes, but as STAR had no strakes, how was the pilot to control it ie what aerodynamic surfaces were at his disposal?
 

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some additional information I found, not sure if it's been posted already. It mentions that the wind tunnel model of the Spacecruser had small highly swept wings or strakes. I presume they were on the sides of the craft, but surely there must be some sort of strake above and below as well. If so, where would the upper one have been placed? With the pilot right at the back and a hatch over his head for him to look out of the craft, any dorsal strake would be totally in the way.
 

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What is all my hard work on the SRI Space Cruiser to go un-utilized?

https://www.aerospaceprojectsreview.com/blog/?p=2048

ussp02ad.jpg
 

quellish

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some additional information I found, not sure if it's been posted already. It mentions that the wind tunnel model of the Spacecruser had small highly swept wings or strakes. I presume they were on the sides of the craft, but surely there must be some sort of strake above and below as well. If so, where would the upper one have been placed? With the pilot right at the back and a hatch over his head for him to look out of the craft, any dorsal strake would be totally in the way.
The vehicle was based on SWERVE. Same strakes as SWERVE.

SWERVE spins on reentry - if Space Cruiser did the same that would be an exciting ride
 

aferguson

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so, like this? I guess then the pilot's hatch would be at the back in between (equidistant) the upper pair of strakes? As long as the strakes were small, as in this photo, the pilot would have good all around visibility. If the stakes were larger then side to side visibility would be impeded; not sure if that is really a problem though.

Would a craft (spaceplane) of this configuration be able to glide through the atmosphere during re-entry? Would it not tend to flop over on its side? I can't image spinning would be acceptable...
 

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Matej said:
Nice drawings. In this case I realized, how complicated is it to have human aboard. Thanks God for progress in technology.

You're right Matej, especially if we take into account that "Space Cruiser" (despite to its so magnificient name) was the closest thing to a "space fighter" ever conceived until now.

It was to be launched by a submarine, through a SLBM, instead of the MIRVs onboard.
High maneuverability, due to its 17 small engines, across 2/3 orbits of lifeflight.

No pressurized section, so the crewman has to wear pressurized suit all over the time. This allows to save weight and to be less sensible to damages in an eventual battle.

The high gees ballistic reentry was to be performed "a la ICMB" pointing nose down. After reentry a "Rogallo wing" was to be deployed, with landing skids, to achive landing or splashdown. In this way it was possibile to have a flexible, high covert (due to its launch nature) and even cheap military space vehicle.
Please excuse my ignorance, but by which means does the "Space Cruiser" engage/destroy the said satellite archiepeppe?

Regards
Pioneer
 

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