TRF Lifetime Supporter
- Oct 27, 2009
- Reaction score
- Brigham City, UT
Uh, PLANE may fly this year.Reports that StratoLaunch will occur this year.
Basically, they've got to get rockets that can withstand hanging from that relatively narrow middle wing area. Looking at the concept picture, that old F9 is in danger of snapping in half at the LOX tank. Not the best place for bending moments from the 2nd stage and payload.The company will also look to expand the types of launch vehicles that are compatible with its carrier aircraft.
Good point and this may be the reason that Space X bowed out of this enterprise. One of the advantages of a liquid rocket is that only the combustion chamber needs to be designed to withstand high pressure. Consequently, the fuel and LOX tanks can be relatively light. On the other hand those tanks are not high-strength structures and would inherently be challenged if fully loaded in the horizontal position. In solid propellant motors the entire case participates in being part of the combustion chamber. For the Space Shuttle SRB the solid rocket motor case was 1/2" thick steel. It was actually the SRB case that carried the entire static load of the Shuttle as it stood on the pad. Obviously, there is an experience base for using the solid propellant Pegasus for air launched satellite launchers.Basically, they've got to get rockets that can withstand hanging from that relatively narrow middle wing area. Looking at the concept picture, that old F9 is in danger of snapping in half at the LOX tank. Not the best place for bending moments from the 2nd stage and payload.
I was thinking it was more of a Spruce Goose story."Gee, we built this massive, highly specialized plane that no longer has any foreseeable purpose. Silly us!"
Sounds like the Glomar Explorer of the aviation world. Maybe they'll sell it to DARPA at a big discount...?