• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

USAF FAST/RBS Reusable Booster System programs

hesham

ACCESS: USAP
Senior Member
Joined
May 26, 2006
Messages
26,688
Reaction score
3,476
FAST program seeks to mature hypersonic air vehicles and space launch technologies

AFRL Air Vehicles News and Accomplishments, January 2008

AFRL is teaming up with a number of aerospace industry contractors to begin ground experiments as part of the Future-responsive Access to Space Technologies (FAST) program. The FAST program seeks to mature hypersonic air vehicles and space launch technologies by designing, developing, and then testing the technologies in a series of ground-based experiments. These technologies could potentially be used on a variety of future reusable high-speed air and space vehicles.
“We want to deliver a set of completed experiments to the leadership that allows them to make decisions on a group of technologies for a variety of air and aircraft-like vehicles,” says FAST program manager Maj Nidal Jodeh.
Three sets of ground experiments are planned as part of the FAST program. These experiments are: Design and Operability, Composite Airframe Development, and Integrated Adaptive Guidance and Control (IAG&C). The Design and Operability experiments will focus on subsystems and integration, and how to increase the efficiency of flight and ground operations. The Composite Airframe Development experiments will look at airframe components such as thermal protection systems and load-bearing fuel tanks. Improved techniques for removing, replacing, and attaching thermal protection systems to the vehicle will be studied, as well as the capability of the fuel tank to bear structural loads. The IAG&C experiments focus on the capability of avionics to perform systems health monitoring and compensate for off-nominal flight conditions. The ground experiments are currently in the design phase. All three ground experiments will be conducted concurrently, and data will be shared among the various contracting teams. IAG&C tests will be conducted through hardware-in-the-loop simulations, providing a realistic testing environment in which actuator components are tested in the loop with computer simulations. Although there is no specific vehicle platform currently planned to utilize the FAST technologies, Maj Jodeh says the ultimate goal of the project is to deliver technologies to enable affordable and responsive space access while advancing hypersonic air vehicle technologies. FAST is a joint effort between AFRL and a number of contractors, including Lockheed-Martin, Northrop Grumman, Honeywell, and the University of Dayton Research Institute.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://discoveryenterprise.blogspot.com/2008/08/more-secret-spaceplanes.html

picture: A concept drawing of the FAST structural tank test rig.
 

Attachments

  • FAST tank test rig.jpg
    FAST tank test rig.jpg
    125.8 KB · Views: 418

flateric

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
9,044
Reaction score
870
Instead of reading bullshit posted in the blog mentioned, mixing Blackswift with Blackstar, one's better to read the original source
http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/080815-lockheed-spaceplane-prototype-test.html
 

Attachments

  • 080424-lockheed-test-02.jpg
    080424-lockheed-test-02.jpg
    59 KB · Views: 476
  • 080815-spaceplane-test-02.jpg
    080815-spaceplane-test-02.jpg
    65.3 KB · Views: 515

OM

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Messages
753
Reaction score
12
Website
www.io.com
XP67_Moonbat said:
So say we all! ;)

...Agreed. And with the sole exception of one regular's insistance regarding a bit of history regarding the N-1, I've found that this place has a lot more reliable posters than some Arndt-wannabee's blog. Reminds me of how sci.space.history used to be before the trolls ran most of the regulars off.
 

Orionblamblam

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
7,906
Reaction score
1,140
Website
www.aerospaceprojectsreview.com
saturncanuck said:
Kinda looks like an XB-70, or maybe the L-2000.

Keep in mind: THAT DESIGN IS FICTIONAL. It was claimed to be a derivative of the XB-70, but the evidence backing it up was thin, sparse and largely not credible.
 

saturncanuck

Any landing you can walk away from, is a good one.
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
299
Reaction score
6
Website
www.aerofile.ca
Orionblamblam said:
saturncanuck said:
Kinda looks like an XB-70, or maybe the L-2000.

Keep in mind: THAT DESIGN IS FICTIONAL. It was claimed to be a derivative of the XB-70, but the evidence backing it up was thin, sparse and largely not credible.

Ya, well, NA never had a civil version of the XB-70. They could hardly get two in the air.
 

sferrin

ACCESS: USAP
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
13,387
Reaction score
1,429
OM said:
XP67_Moonbat said:
So say we all! ;)

...Agreed. And with the sole exception of one regular's insistance regarding a bit of history regarding the N-1, I've found that this place has a lot more reliable posters than some Arndt-wannabee's blog. Reminds me of how sci.space.history used to be before the trolls ran most of the regulars off.

You can thank Paul for ruling with an iron fist. ;)
 

quellish

I am not actually here.
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
2,149
Reaction score
158
hesham said:
Hi,

http://discoveryenterprise.blogspot.com/2008/08/more-secret-spaceplanes.html

Well let's back up a little. What good would a secret spaceplane be, much less a TSTO spaceplane?

- Limited payload
As uber-cool as TSTO systems are, realistically an operational vehicle would only be able to orbit fairly small payloads. A small payload means most IMINT payloads would be out. About the only things that would make this attractive would be something small you'd need a lot of - Brilliant Pebbles, an Iridium-like constellation of communications or SIGINT satellites.
If such a TSTO system existed, it likely developed with a specific payload in mind. Small payloads which would have broader appeal are a very recent development (Orbital Express, etc.)
- Payload would have to be beyond the opposition's capability to detect.
A new object of any useful size would be observed and point back to the secret launcher.
- Terribly expensive to develop.
- Operational infrastructure difficult to conceal
Fuels required for such a system require special handling, etc. etc. Either something very exotic or cryogenic. That is difficult to hide, even if it were only flying out of DET 3.

There have not been many organizations in the past 20 years with the money, mission, and lack of oversight required to develop something like that, much less operate it.
 

borovik

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
May 5, 2007
Messages
790
Reaction score
103
saturncanuck said:
Ya, well, NA never had a civil version of the XB-70. They could hardly get two in the air.

Maybe I do not understand (it was difficult to translate, my poor English))), but in accordance with D. Jenkins and T. Landis -"North American XB-70A Valkirye" planned modification of supersonic transport at the XB-70A at 36, 48 and 76 passengers.
 

Attachments

  • B-70 mod..jpg
    B-70 mod..jpg
    33 KB · Views: 515

Just call me Ray

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Aug 26, 2007
Messages
676
Reaction score
10
Well to get this back on topic - does anybody have any detailed views of the real spaceplane, the one that's in the photos being launched off the rail that looks like a generic blob in the detail we have now?
 

quellish

I am not actually here.
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
2,149
Reaction score
158
Just call me Ray said:
Well to get this back on topic - does anybody have any detailed views of the real spaceplane, the one that's in the photos being launched off the rail that looks like a generic blob in the detail we have now?

I've only seen a few photos:
http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/hyperbola/2008/06/lockheed-martins-flyback-first.html
http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/080424-lockheed-spaceplane-test.html
http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/04/lockheed-tests.html

Nothing I've seen shows anything unusual, though in the PR they seem to hint there is something special about the propulsion system. I'm still finding it difficult to understand exactly where the risk reduction of this project is.
 

Just call me Ray

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Aug 26, 2007
Messages
676
Reaction score
10
I bet the risk reduction comes from reducing the risk of private investors and government funds from disappearing because they think LockMart isn't doing anything :p
 

hesham

ACCESS: USAP
Senior Member
Joined
May 26, 2006
Messages
26,688
Reaction score
3,476
Hi,

http://www.andrews-space.com/content-main.php?subsection=MTA4
 

Attachments

  • phpThumb.jpg
    phpThumb.jpg
    32.6 KB · Views: 478

antigravite

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Apr 25, 2008
Messages
725
Reaction score
69
Image is not related to FAST concept but rather adresses ORS (Operationally Responsive Spacelift).
 

quellish

I am not actually here.
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
2,149
Reaction score
158
hesham said:
Hi,

http://www.andrews-space.com/content-main.php?subsection=MTA4

It is worthy to note the configuration of the first stage depicted here closely matches the Lockheed vehicle being discussed in the "Lockheed Secret Spaceplace" thread.
 

XP67_Moonbat

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 16, 2008
Messages
2,160
Reaction score
55
Intruiging.

Plans for future re--usable space launch X-plane hatched

Posted by Guy Norris at 3/31/2009 3:41 PM CDT

The Air Force Research Laboratory expects to issue a request for information (rfi) “any day now” to industry for a wide spread of structures, systems and control technology that could be used as a the basis for a hypersonic, responsive space launch vehicle X-plane demonstrator.

The rfi is for the follow-on phase to the future responsive access to space technologies (FAST) program which focused on several ground experiments into baseline technology for the future demonstrator. These included an all-composite airframe with warm, cryogenic structures, load-bearing tanks attached to wing box carry-through and thrust structures and thermal protection systems with operable seals and mechanical attachments.

Other ground experiments include adaptive guidance and control subsystems with the ability to re-shape trajectories on-line and mission replanning in response to sub-system failures. Another aspect of FAST has also involved development of a laboratory for exploring concepts for operating a quick-turnaround, reusable space launch vehicle, rapid mission planning, in-flight command and control and ground operations.

Originally dubbed the operationally responsive space (ORS) integrated ground experiment, the new program is expected to be re-named along the lines of the reusable booster system integrated demonstrator to emphasize the X-plane aims of the effort. The AFRL says the rfi is aimed at “maturing technology in areas such as structures, guidance and control and fault tolerance.” The plan will be to demonstrate a high level of integration, culminating in a scaled X-plane vehicle that will show capabilities to technology readiness levels of around 6 (ready for full-scale development) by around the 2017-2018 timeframe.

Concept models of the fly-back winged booster and a similar winged booster with a rocket-powered payload module carried piggy-back, were revealed at the National Space Symposium. The models bore a strong resemblance to the scaled model booster flight tested by Lockheed Martin early in 2008. These tests, conducted in New Mexico, were primarily to investigate guidance and control concepts for the two-stage to orbit vehicle which will be autonomously controlled at speeds for up to Mach 6 for the first-stage and up to Mach 9 and beyond for the second-stage.

Booster concept models on display at NSS (photos Guy Norris)
 

Attachments

  • 690498aa-3212-4ec9-83a3-ced03dd74ae2.Large.jpg
    690498aa-3212-4ec9-83a3-ced03dd74ae2.Large.jpg
    37.3 KB · Views: 107
  • c2f17218-3dcf-4d8a-bb32-ecfba202d215.Large.jpg
    c2f17218-3dcf-4d8a-bb32-ecfba202d215.Large.jpg
    35.6 KB · Views: 109

mz

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
681
Reaction score
8
Rockwell X-33 and Boeing SLI/OSP two stage system or something, memory's hazy. This has happened before and will happen again.
 

mz

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
681
Reaction score
8
Okay, at the risk of being offtopic, has military aerospace development already reached a point where the contractors can just keep on recycling old proposals and work with the new politicians and keep billing. (Same seems to be going with energy efficient vehicles and other perpetually restarted government programs, in USA and Europe at least.)
 

Matej

Multiuniversal creator
Joined
Feb 13, 2006
Messages
2,616
Reaction score
116
Website
www.hitechweb.genezis.eu
mz said:
...already reached a point where the contractors can just keep on recycling old proposals...

It has been done many times before and will be done many times in the future. The idea is to re-valuate the old concept using the latest technologies. Who know - probably it will work and probably not. There are a lot of projects of that kind: Sikorsky X2 for example.

Regarding this program or better to say request for the information - I am not surprised at all: there is a need for the quick response military space plane since X-20 and till now it is not filled, so we can expect these studies and projects and x-planes at least until we will have real operational capable hardware. And it can take in that case dozens of years...
 

quellish

I am not actually here.
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
2,149
Reaction score
158
Matej said:
mz said:
...already reached a point where the contractors can just keep on recycling old proposals...

It has been done many times before and will be done many times in the future. The idea is to re-valuate the old concept using the latest technologies. Who know - probably it will work and probably not. There are a lot of projects of that kind: Sikorsky X2 for example.

Regarding this program or better to say request for the information - I am not surprised at all: there is a need for the quick response military space plane since X-20 and till now it is not filled, so we can expect these studies and projects and x-planes at least until we will have real operational capable hardware. And it can take in that case dozens of years...


Now we know what Hangar 18 at DET 3 actually houses. Rows and rows of lightweight tanks, carry-through structures, thermal protection systems, and composite dodads. A row for each SSTO or TSTO program since the 1970s!

Boeing's model looks like RASV 3: This Time We'll Make Weight.
NG's looks like they're still copying the other kid's homework when it comes to launch vehicles. But a perfect attendance record at these things!
And Lockheed's model, well, I guess the linear aerospike *wasn't* the next best thing to being in space.
 

CFE

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Sep 1, 2007
Messages
259
Reaction score
3
shockonlip said:
Thars no air suckin vents on that thar bird !!

The idea is to perform a rocket-powered boost-back after staging, similar to the Shuttle RTLS maneuver. This would occur somewhere around 150Kft and Mach 6.5. This would result in better cross-range and lower TPS requirements than the turbine-powered designs studied by Buzz Aldrin and Starcraft Boosters.


quellish said:
Now we know what Hangar 18 at DET 3 actually houses. Rows and rows of lightweight tanks, carry-through structures, thermal protection systems, and composite dodads. A row for each SSTO or TSTO program since the 1970s!

"Hangar 18" was never a hangar, but just another building. During the mid-40's it was used for cold-soak testing of radial engines. Building 23 was a small hangar at one point, but that's another story.
 

flateric

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
9,044
Reaction score
870
http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/04/lockheed-tests.html
http://www.krqe.com/global/story.asp?s=8173339
 

Attachments

  • lockmart.jpg
    lockmart.jpg
    7.5 KB · Views: 1,087

flateric

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
9,044
Reaction score
870
this one is obviously Lockheed's FAST

Concept test a first in VKF

Aerospace Testing Alliance Outside Machinist Jimmy Sanders cleans and inspects the upper surface of the Blended Wing Body concept test article during a model change prior to the resumption of aerodynamic testing in AEDC’s 16-foot transonic wind tunnel. (Photo by David Housch)

FAST launch vehicle tested

A 4-percent model of the Fully-Reusable Access to Space Technology proof-of-concept launch vehicle underwent aerodynamic testing in AEDC’s von Kàrmàn Gas Dynamics Facility (VKF) Supersonic Wind Tunnel A. (Photo by David Housch)

Hi-res images
http://www.arnold.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/090624-F-9114G-006.JPG
http://www.arnold.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/090624-F-9114G-023.JPG
 

Attachments

  • FAST_Arnold_1.jpg
    FAST_Arnold_1.jpg
    577.2 KB · Views: 130
  • FAST_Arnold_2.jpg
    FAST_Arnold_2.jpg
    571.7 KB · Views: 132

airrocket

Dreams To Reality
Joined
Mar 3, 2008
Messages
290
Reaction score
7
Website
RetroFlight.com
Lockheed...blunt nose technology, rounded bottom, with the tip fins all present roll couple subsonic issues. Well researched in the late sixties and early seventies. Requires high landing speeds additional fins to interrupt and redirect vortex flow instability up and over the aft portion of the vehicle and vertical stabs. Sharp nose, flat bottom bodies (X-24b) with anhedral tail fins solve the stability issues and only require two vertical stabs. What I see is late fifties early sixties technology from Lockheed I would have expected something much more leading edge? Seems they chose to ignore much of the military based FDL research from back in the sixties. Which one would have assumed would have been passed down from previous generations? But anything that goes beyond a capsule these days is at least encouraging.
 

flateric

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
9,044
Reaction score
870
seems that that Physeter catodon from earlier post is Boeing's (?)
http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA467945&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf
 

Attachments

  • fast-4.jpg
    fast-4.jpg
    248.3 KB · Views: 78
  • fast-3.jpg
    fast-3.jpg
    254.5 KB · Views: 99
  • fast-2.jpg
    fast-2.jpg
    265 KB · Views: 106
  • fast-1.jpg
    fast-1.jpg
    229.2 KB · Views: 125

flateric

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
9,044
Reaction score
870
Dan Raymer's Conceptual Research Corporation' FAST info
http://www.aircraftdesign.com/crcprojects.html
http://www.aircraftdesign.com/an_affordable_flight_demonstrator_for_fully-resuable_access_to_space_technologies.pdf
 

Attachments

  • fastrus-4.jpg
    fastrus-4.jpg
    111.3 KB · Views: 48
  • fastrus-3.jpg
    fastrus-3.jpg
    118.8 KB · Views: 53
  • fastrus-2.jpg
    fastrus-2.jpg
    159.1 KB · Views: 53
  • fastrus-1.jpg
    fastrus-1.jpg
    90.7 KB · Views: 47
  • reusable_rocket_concept.gif
    reusable_rocket_concept.gif
    32.1 KB · Views: 33

flateric

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
9,044
Reaction score
870
Space Access Capability Boosted by Wind Tunnel Test Success

Posted 12/11/2009 Updated 12/11/2009 Email story Print story

by Ms. Heidi Wilkin
Air Vehicles

12/11/2009 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- With help from Air Force Research Laboratory, the Air Force is pursuing a Reusable Booster System concept as the potential next step towards a low-cost space access capability. Whereas current booster systems are entirely expendable and require long lead times prior to launch, an RBS equipped with boostback capability--such as the one recently tested in Arnold Engineering Development Center wind tunnel facilities--could facilitate launch-site turnaround of a vehicle in less than 48 hrs and vehicle launch prep in less than 8 hrs. This successful test effort supports AFRL's Future-responsive Access to Space Technologies program, including the initiation of follow-on flight demonstrators.

Further, the test highlights a new test capability housed at the AEDC (located at Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee)--specifically, the capability to study jet interactions between nozzles and a test article over wide-ranging angles of attack. For the boostback wind tunnel test activity, researchers took the test article from a -2° angle of attack to a +180° angle of attack, with and without air flowing through the article in order to simulate rocket plumes at Mach 4 and Mach 5. The resulting force, moment, and pressure data will assist efforts to determine vehicle stability and control characteristics throughout the boostback maneuver, with further testing required to fully validate the maneuver's viability.

Photo
Reusable Booster Systems pave the way to low-cost space access, and incorporating boostback technology into an RBS in order to reduce vehicle turnaround and launch prep further advances this goal. Wind tunnel testing of AFRL's boostback test article (pictured as a schlieren image) took place in the Arnold Engineering Development Center's [Theodore] von Karman Facility Tunnel A.
 

Attachments

  • 091009-F-1159D-001.jpg
    091009-F-1159D-001.jpg
    40.5 KB · Views: 21

bobbymike

ACCESS: USAP
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
10,288
Reaction score
1,241
From January 11, 2009 Defense News - (excerpt from the hard copy) - ".......an RBS (reusable booster system) equipped with boostback capability, such as the one recently tested in Arnold Engineering Development Center wing tunnel facilities........"

Any ideas what this system might be or look like? Sorry for the paucity of information.
 

flateric

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
9,044
Reaction score
870
real shapes of LM's FAST
 

Attachments

  • lockheed FAST.jpg
    lockheed FAST.jpg
    149.8 KB · Views: 346

quellish

I am not actually here.
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
2,149
Reaction score
158
CFE said:
"Hangar 18" was never a hangar, but just another building. During the mid-40's it was used for cold-soak testing of radial engines. Building 23 was a small hangar at one point, but that's another story.

Sorry, not Wright-Patt. DET 3 is in Nevada. Hangar 18 there is a large, tall hangar that there has always been a lot of speculation about. The number is just a coincidence, it was built after the Wright-Patt rumors as far as I know. Part of Hangar 18 is storage for old projects, that section of the hangar is called "Dyson's Dock" and access is severely restricted. This is where TACIT BLUE lived for some time. TACIT BLUE was moved out and given to the AF museum because Dyson's Dock was well over capacity.
 

bobbymike

ACCESS: USAP
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
10,288
Reaction score
1,241
From Aviation Week

Air Force Study Points To Reusable Orbiter
Sep 20, 2010

By Guy Norris
Los Angeles

Newly declassified details of the analysis behind the U.S. Air Force’s decision to opt for a next-generation Reusable Booster System (RBS) reveal a long-term preference for a rocket-based, combined-cycle upper-stage orbiter over the nearer-term expendable solution.

The RBS plan is in development to replace the Air Force’s existing Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELV) beyond 2025, and aims to cut launch costs by 50% by combining a reusable first stage with expendable upper stages. The booster would take off vertically and return to a runway landing at the launch site.

Details revealed in the joint U.S. Air Force Space and Missiles Systems Center/Aerospace Corp. study at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Space 2010 conference in Anaheim, Calif., show that while expendable upper stages will provide the initial capability, “a rocket-based combined cycle (RBCC) orbiter is the preferred far-term solution.” The RBCC configurations would adapt to the RBS first stage for vertical launch but return for a horizontal landing.

Although the study held out some optimism for RBCC proponents in the long run, its findings could be a telling blow for supporters of air-breathing turbine-based combined-cycle (TBCC) hypersonic space launch concepts. Study officials say even though the TBCC performance indicates greater specific impulse than rockets, the reusable booster turned out to be smaller, lighter and less costly.

Design details of a new reusable rocket and air-breathing combined-cycle hypersonic vehicle aimed at the long-term orbiter role have also been unveiled at Space 2010 by Astrox, a Maryland-based research and development company. The design was developed after the company was commissioned to perform a comparative survey of eight alternative two-stage-to-orbit (TSTO) configurations by the Air Force Chief Scientist Office, says Astrox President Ajay Kothari. These included Lockheed Martin’s Blackswift design for the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, as well as Boeing’s FAST concept.

The RBCC design is the focus for an ongoing comparative study into reusable launch systems by the Air Force and NASA. The Air Force is evaluating a vertical launch system, and NASA a horizontal takeoff system. “We are about 85% complete with the study now, but the design is pretty much done,” says Kothari. Measuring around 158 ft. in overall length, the vehicle would carry a 20,000-lb. payload to low Earth orbit. After staging from the RBS at around Mach 3.5-4 and 75,000 ft., the vehicle would be powered by dual-mode ram/scramjets to a rocket transition point around Mach 10 and 95,000 ft.

Kothari believes the concept works where so many have failed because of the vehicle’s comparatively low dry weight. This is driven primarily by the move to a vertical takeoff, which reduces landing gear weight as well as wing size. The reduced loading demand on the gear for the vertical-launched concept restricts gear weight to around 5,000 lb. versus an estimated 35,000 lb. for the beefed-up gear of the horizontal takeoff version. The selection of an RBCC propulsion system over the turbine-based alternative also helps the equation with an installed engine weight of around one-fifth that of the turbine-powered vehicle.

The weight factors “work systematically to kill horizontal takeoff concepts, and the same thing happened with Blackswift. It also explains why horizontal takeoff has killed the possibilities that hypersonic technology could bring to this country, and that’s why we need to change the paradigm,” he adds.

The Air Force’s main focus remains for now on replacing the Atlas V and Delta IV with two versions of the RBS: a single reusable first stage and expendable cryogenic upper stage for medium-lift missions; and two reusable boosters and cryogenic core and upper stages for heavy-lift and growth missions. Initial operational capability is set for 2025, with EELVs being phased out in 2030.

Planning is underway to begin technology development for the reusable booster through two Air Force Research Laboratory demonstrators, more details of which were also revealed at Space 2010. The first is the RBS Pathfinder, already in initial planning and due to fly in 2013. A larger follow-on demonstrator, the RBX, is set to enter development in Fiscal 2012 and will be flight tested in 2016-17.

Although program officials say a solid concept demonstrator has yet to be completed, the outline Pathfinder is baselined with an NK-33 liquid oxygen (LOX)/kerosene rocket engine and will demonstrate the preferred “rocket-back” return-to-launch-site maneuver. The RBX, currently with a 60-ft. overall length, 34-ft. span and 9-ft.-dia. body, is designed as a demonstrator representative of the operational system. The vehicle is outlined with a gross liftoff weight around 230,000 lb. and will be powered by a LOX/kerosene RD-180 EELV engine. Another AFRL demonstration program—Hydrocarbon Boost—is developing a large LOX/kerosene rocket engine for the full-size booster.

As well as testing the rocket/fly-back maneuver, Pathfinder will help refine operational and rapid turnaround procedures and autonomous operations. RBX will test propulsion, avionics and airframe components to verify reusability.
 

DSE

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Apr 13, 2010
Messages
461
Reaction score
23
This is just another article in regard to the Astrox rbcc work for AFRL. "Design" is one heck of an overstatement.
 

HyperTech

ACCESS: Restricted
Joined
Jan 25, 2007
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Here are two 1964 concepts that today could use a returnable liquid booster (As Energia SS-18 strap-on with two paraglider chutes on each booster could have done) with hydrogen fueled hypersonic gliders with greater than half Earth circumference glide range. The were originally sized for 9 to 13 people with initial support supplies (two supported a 21 to 24 person space station concept) or an 7 to 10 metric ton payload. There design was for the gliders to have a 100 flight capability before overhaul (YES, and that was designed and materials available then). The Russian concept for the booster was 25 to 35 flights before overhaul or replacement. Why the sad smiley? All of the design details, wind tunnel data, models, materials tests, etc was all shedded and destroyed with the suggestee receiving an award for disposing of old unused unimportant material. One fellow received a cash award for burning 5,000 ft of color schlieren film of a supersonic through-flow engine duplicating a Mach 8 combustor (4,100 F stagnation temperature with a 7,100 ft/sec flow speed) in 1962. (there is no SCRAMJET as there is NO supersonic combustion only combustion in a supersonic stream.)
 

Attachments

  • Model 176H_Brief.jpg
    Model 176H_Brief.jpg
    127.5 KB · Views: 324

HyperTech

ACCESS: Restricted
Joined
Jan 25, 2007
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
The Energia Strap-ons using the RD-170 rocket engine were indeed derived from a ballistic missile. And yes indeed it was capable of a number of flights before overhaul. Gubonov said thr RD-170 might have 40 flights before overhaul, and I believe him. Unlike our Shuttle engine the Energia main engine was most like the P&W RL-129 with 3,500 psi chamber pressure and 535,000 lb thrust that was fired 40 time before overhaul. Bob Davies, when at Aerojet presented a paper ar the IAF Amsterdam congress that document a Energia main engine that achieved 82 full flight sequences from launch, to space to return before it had to be overhauled.
 

mz

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
681
Reaction score
8
They are way overspecifying the solution to their problem. This probably won't create to much progress, it's like almost everything else DoD and NASA have done regarding reusables in the last 15 years.
.
 

Similar threads

Top