What if

Hot Research Topics => Aircraft, Armor, Weapons and Ships by Topic => Topic started by: Archibald on April 09, 2006, 11:28:04 pm

Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 09, 2006, 11:28:04 pm
In december 1963, young Mc Namara died of an unexpected heart attack. This was a kind of relief for the arm lobby, and many project threatened were save by its successors.
The Dynasoar space shuttle was one of them... and the program received a go ahead in January 1964. In march 1965, the first test device arrived in Edwards AFB. It was attached under wings of the NB-52B 008 (AkA balls eight). Test Pilot Bill Dana climb in the cockpit.
F-104s, T-38 and F5D were airborne at the time, and the B-52 smothly tooke off with the sharp balck shuttle under its wing. Fritz Fulton was at the controls of the bomber. He climbed at 28000 fts and released the  glider. Dana made a perfect gliding, testing the flight control system. Dyna Soar landed on the Dry rock desert, and vehicles quickly reached the landing point. The B-52 and chases planes made a low flypast over the team...
 (Modified Photo from Mark Wade, Astronautix website)
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Matt Wiser on April 10, 2006, 12:03:01 am
Nicely done! You have brought the X-20 to life. Not too many people know the USAF had a parallel space program alongside NASA's. X-20, and the Manned Orbiting Labratory were the centerpiece of the AF program back then. MOL was a manned lab in a polar orbit served by Gemini capsules-after it was axed, most of the MOL crews went to NASA. MOL's purpose was entirely military-manned space recon from orbit. MOL was axed when the reliability of spy satellites improved.  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 10, 2006, 12:22:58 am
I know that because I'm also a great fan of spaceplanes in general. So stay tunned my friend because I have imagined a big and long life to the brave Dynasoar... with profiles of course!  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 10, 2006, 01:45:24 am
At the beginning of course, Dyna soar was to be launch by a big, man-rated Titatan III-M rocket.
The USAF led the program after NASA went to capsules such as Gemini. but in 1964 the two services agree to use the Titan IIIM to launch both Gemini and DynaSoar.
Starting from 1964, boeing opened a dynasoar production line in wichita. In fact, as the spaceplane was small it was not too expensive so many could be produced. The USAF wanted no less than 20 Dynasoars. The aim was to use them as strategic orbital recon plane. Of course, spy satellites also do the job, but they were prisoneers from their orbits and sometimes needed inspection and repair. Dynasoar was able to change its orbit for space recon. The astronaut on board could also repair satellites. Another vital function was suborbital flight. Launched from the east coast via a Titan IIIM, Dynasoar could overfly the USSR at 20000 km/h and land at Ewards or other Air Bases.
The first manned flight ocurred in May 1966. The spaceplane was launched from Vanderberg AFB and after two orbits landed at Edwards AFB. A C-141A had been modified as ferrying aircraft.  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 10, 2006, 01:53:13 am
C-141 SCA with DynaSoar on top.  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: GTX on April 10, 2006, 02:21:36 am
Hi folks,

Of course this:
In december 1963, young Mc Namara died of an unexpected heart attack
Also raises other what-if possibilities, perhaps the biggest of which would be the F-111 saga potentially not happenning - after all McNamara was the main advocate behind driving the USAF and USN to join forces on the F-111.

Sorry to hijack your discussion there Archibald,  what about some foreign DynaSoar operators - RAF, RAAF?  Also maybe a MOL (http://www.astronautix.com/craft/mol.htm) (Manned Orbiting Laboratory) what-if too?


Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 10, 2006, 03:18:20 am
Eerh... well my thread was about DynaSoar. Don't know what to do with the MOL because this program REPLACED dynasoar.
Of course we can imagine that the MOL and Dynasoar are completary, but I prefer Skylab. In the case the MOL survive, of course dynasoar replace the blueGemini spacecraft.
In fact, DynaSoar/MOL+ Apollo would be too much for the USA in the sixties. and there's Skylab, which was launched in 1973, after Apollo.
So I think there would be no MOL in my alternate word. but don't worry, there will be other surprises... RCAF, RAF, RAAF AdA etc. I also made a scratchbuild 1/72 DynaSoar.  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 10, 2006, 03:27:43 am
At the beginning of the flight, Titan-IIIM with dynasoar was launched from Vandenberg only. but in 1968, Nixon declared that the airbase was too vulnerable. so the USAF converted one Titan II underground silo (and their titan missiles) to the launch of dynasoar.
The aim was to have always a dynasoar in alert at 10mn, as with fighters. The Titan rocket was fully fueled, the Astronauts must rushed to their cockpits, and the titan III was launched. The silo elected was Davis Monthan.
changed included new accomodations for the astronauts.

Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 10, 2006, 07:32:41 am
So the USAD had an order for 20 Dyna soar. After that, the CIA and NASA also received some of them.
NASA received 10 dynasoars. They were named
- Constitution
- Constellation
- Enterprise
- Cook
- New York
- Ranger
- Voyager
- Pioneer
- Washington
- Lincoln
The constellation was the third NASA Dyna soar to fly in 1971.
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 10, 2006, 10:35:07 am
They were launched from Cap Canaveral. In fact after the Apollo program peak, in 1969, NASA wanted a reusable space plane. After much hesistation they finally made a conservative choice (Dynasoar+ expendable rockets).
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: GTX on April 10, 2006, 04:15:53 pm

USAF converted one Titan II underground silo (and their titan missiles) to the launch of dynasoar.
The aim was to have always a dynasoar in alert at 10mn, as with fighters.

I like it... I like it a lot!!!!!!


Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 10, 2006, 11:24:20 pm
Thank you GTX!!! Nice to you to interest to my thread... youre the only :(

I imagined this base just like Bitburg Zulu squadrons... You have the plane ready to fly, the rocket always fueled  and the pilots on alert. Suddenly, a bell is ringing, and technicians start to run everywhere in a perfect move... the astronaut quickly dress, climb in the elevator (with its helmets under his arm) on top of the rocket and seat on the Dynasoar cockpit. Two man close the hatch, then the platform is evacuated. the decount is launch and suddenly the doors of the silo open, a ray of sun illumanate the scene and a huge noise shake everything.
Then the grey/white Titan III rocket with the sharp, black dynasoar on top slowly emerge from the silo, with a huge tong of fire behind it, burning everything. The rocket quickly climb and accelerate. In less than 7 minutes, the astronaut is in orbit...  and start to spy USSR with a powerful HIAC-1 camera (the same of the RB-57 and Isreali RF-4E).
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Hobbes on April 10, 2006, 11:48:04 pm
Thank you GTX!!! Nice to you to interest to my thread... youre the only :(
no, he's not  B)

just hadn't got around to replying yet.

It's an interesting concept. The Air Force approached space from their own point of view, using aircraft-like concepts (X-15, Dynasoar) instead of the capsules Nasa used. Had Dynasoar been developed further, the Space Shuttle would have looked rather different, too (maybe they would have figured out sooner that the Shuttle's configuration is rather compromised).

The Dynasoar sure was ugly, though.  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 11, 2006, 12:02:00 am
The CIA received 10 DynaSoar between 1967 and 1972. They were launched from Vanderberg on titan II rocket. The CIA was not interested in orbital flight but more in suborbital flight. So they receive old Titan II missiles.
As these launch were not orbital, the orientation of the flight was not important. So the CIA launched its dynasoar to the north-west. Starting from Vandenberg, the Titan II launched the DynaSoar at 180km and 20000km/h. The pilots crossed the Pacific in  25mn, heading to Japan. They entered USSR airspace over Vladivostok, and overfly the 5000 km long USSR in 8 minuts. Theu go out the USSR airspace over Turkey, then speed start to fall and the Dynasoar re enter the atmospher over Gibraltar. Atlantic is crossed in 10mn, and the spaceship enter US airspace over Florida. Pilots can land in Cap canaveral, or cross the USA. If they do that, landing sites are
- White sands in New Mexico
- Edwards, Vandenberg or Groom lake in the west coast.
As U-2 or A-12, DynaSoar had no markings (salvo a smal red serial number on the tail) and were enterely black.  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Maverick on April 11, 2006, 12:12:22 am
I've been reading too...!!! I love the X-20, it's not ugly, it's just..... unique... sorta like a stray mutt.  Excellent backstory tho.. some serious work there
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 11, 2006, 01:00:35 am
Here's the Titan II with dynasoar in CIA "colors"  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 11, 2006, 01:16:24 am
Alan Glenn was a USAF pilot, flying RF-84F and RF-4C in europe. He went to the CIA in 1967, when the service discretely recruted pilots for the dynasoar.
Its testimony...
"on 25th may 1967, I join the CIA as dynasoar pilot. I was transfered from Langley to Edwards AFB, were I flew  F5D skylancers. The aim was to learn how landing a dynasoar in emergency. we climbed at 600fts over Rogers Dry lake, cut the engine and landed. This was not easy because of the delta wing bad low-speed caracteristics. Then , the CIA send us in Groom lake in a Sabreliner. Here was the flight simulator for Dynasoar. when i discovered the fly-by-wire system I was astonished. Control was much easier than in a Phantom and I remember thinking "this system would be great in airliners"... :P
after 6 months of intensive training in Groom lake I was ready for my first USSR overflight, a big suborbital jump over the planet. My landing site was in White Sands, New Mexico.
On the night of November 22th 1967, I was transfered to Vandenberg AFB on a Jetstar from the CIA. Before the Lockheed landed I saw the Titan II rocket on the SLC-6. The rocket shined on spots lights. My dynasoar was fitted on top of it. It was totally dark, not only a single american roundel on it. I was longly briefed, about my targets. I must overfly the baikonour launch site to monitor the Zond and N-1L3 program. Other target below my flight past was the nuclear test center. My flight was coordinate with a nuclear test of 5 mt.
After that, an elevator send me to the cockpit of my spaceplane. The hatch was closed by two men and I wait the launch.
first stage was lighted, and I left the planet quickly...
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 11, 2006, 01:35:32 am
I rapidly left over the atmospher below me. As my rocket climbed, the Sky was more and more dark. After 139seconds, at 80km and 9000km/h the rocket get ride off its first stage. Turning my head, I saw it tumbling in the atmosphere. I was now near space, and I could saw the earth, particularly the California coast and pacific ocean. The second stage light, sending me higher and higher. Suddenly the sun rose on the atmosphere- it was an incredible sight I will never forget- My flight was now horizontal and I overflew the pacific ocean at 16000km/h and 150km height. the second stage left me just before japan, sending me over USSR at 20000km/h and 180km height. I concentrate in my mission. I could modified my trajectory but carefully, because each change meant a loss in speed. after two minuts I entered USSR airspace, heading for the Kazakstan space and nucelar test sites. I heard a biiiiiiiiiip meaning that the soviets followed me with their radars. That's all they could made, as with U-2 in 1956. Just before overflying Baikonour, I light the camera in the bay behind my back. The entire launch site was mapped in some seconds and then I modified my trajectory. As exepcted my speed fall, but I was still flying at some 15000km/h and 165km. I arrived in the nuclear test site seconds later, just to see the enormous mushroom cloud below me. Even from 160km height, it was very impressive.
 Then I followed my path, leaving USSR above turkey. I overflyed europe at 10 000km/h, following the spanish coast to Gibraltar. then I cross the atlantic; labeit decreasing rapidly my speed was sufficient to send me to New Mexico.
I re entered the atmospher over the Acores, heading at full speed to the florida coast. I landed smothly in white sands, with F-104 chases planes watching carefully my spaceship before that. My flight had only laste one hour, but it was the longer I have ever lived..."
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 12, 2006, 01:04:17 am
I will never forget my first sight of the Earth. I was at 80km height, and turning my head I looked out the windows cockpit... it was incredible and so beautiful!!!  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 12, 2006, 06:22:09 am
In fact two versions of the Dynasoar were adopted by the CIA and USAF. The spaceship was the same, but the laucher was different.
- for spy missions, suborbital flight was better than orbital, because the trajectory can be modified much easily. (Of course, if the target was missed, there would be no second chance).
In this case, The titan II rocket would be used (name Titan IIM). for orbital flight, only the Titan IIIM with SRB could be used.
At the end, the USAF and CIA created three squadrons of spaceplanes (SPS)
- The 4447th SPS was the CIA unit. Based in Vandenberg AFB on the SLC-6 launch complex, it used Titan IIM for suborbital flights over USSR.
- the 4415th SPS was also based in Vandenberg. It was one of the two space unti of the USAF, using Titan IIIM rockets for orbital recon, inspection and satellites repairs.
- the 4417th SPS was based in underground Titan II silos in Davis Monthan. The aim of this squadron was the same as the 4447th of the CIA : suborbital overflies of the USSR
A fourth squadron was in charge of the logistics of the three : the 4485th Transport Squadron had 8 C-141D starlifters.Based in Groom lake (albeit temporarily dispatched in Edwards or  White Sands).  They were modified to carry  rockets stages, ferrying DynaSoar and the like. Three C-39 Sabreliners were used to carry the pilots from one base to another. All these planes were blacks and whithout markings.
All the logistics from Dynasoar was finally moved from Edwards to Groom Lake in 1968, including the F5D skylancers used for land training.
Dynasoars from the USAF and CIA regularly overflew the USSR in conjonction with SR-71 / A12 penetrations and border flights from TR-1.  The aim was to destabilize the Soviets...
The MOL space station for the USAF was scrapped in 1966 as too expensive. The Apollo program pumped all funds at the time, so there was no money for this project.
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 13, 2006, 05:25:07 am
After the triumph of apollo in 1969, NASA turn its mind on fully reusable spaceplanes. From july 1969 to july 1972, every configuration was carefully watched. At the time, only rocket motors were sufficiently evolved to launch a heavy payload in space, but they suffred from fuel weight penalty. NASA finnally understood that a fully reusable shuttle would be a kind of monster in the actual state of the technology. NASA renounced to it, and in spring 1972  studied various low cost shuttle alternatives with expendable parts -including one with an external tank full of Hydrogen, and two SRB along it-. this last configuration was finnaly rejected as too dangerous. further studies of the concept show that
- SRB were difficult to recover at sea
- the enormous fuel tank would be very dangerous if a leak occured. More, due to low temperature of the Hydrogen, parts of isolant would fall on take off and could break thermal protection tiles, leaving to catastrophic failures during reentry
- SRB were, too very dangerous.
- as the shuttle was heavy, it was on the side so no escape was available for the astronauts in case of failure!
As one of the NASA officials said later "this configuration was like seating astronauts on a big gas bottle with  high explosives strapped around it - a real flying bomb!"
Fortunately, the project was quickly dropped. To save money, NASA was forced to chose  DynaSoar in 26th July 1972. Heavy payloads would be launch by expendable rockets, waiting the technology to be more effective.
NASA reluctantly agree. so the service had 10 mini shuttles. As the type  was in service with USAF and CIA, first flight occured in 1975.
Modifications asked by NASA were as follow
- first, wheels instead of skids
- a bigger bay for the satellites
- Inflated bags for waters landings
- ejectors seats for emergency
- solid rocket motor for escape of a failed rocket during ascent
- a bay which culd be open in orbit to launch small satellites with a mechanical arm
- a tunnel,sas, and docking module on top of the cockpit (for space stations visits).
with such modifications, the NASA model was heavier, and a new rocket was needed - Titan VI.
for the abandonned shuttle, thiockol had studied big SRBs, so they were fitted to a Titan III, boosting in LEO payload to 30 tons.
which such changes, the spaceship was now Dynasoar II.

Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Madoc on April 13, 2006, 12:19:48 pm

Interesting stuff here!

Throughout the 60's NASA was hard at work developing a fully resusable launch system.

Among other things proposed was a shuttlecraft launched atop a Saturn 5 main stage that was outfitted with wings and landing gear.  The idea was for this huge beast to lift off vertically and power the shuttle up through the most expensive portion of its ascent.  Then separate when its tanks ran dry, turn around, and glide back to the Cape for a landing.

There would've been no parts thrown away and it could've been done with 1960's technology.  At the time, the NASA folk saw the expense of building this system and testing it out and found they didn't have enough money to do that _and_ to do the Moon landing.

Oh well...

Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 13, 2006, 11:42:29 pm
For some years I studied carefully the history of the space shuttle, particularly the beginning. I found a fascinating website (try in google INTRODUCTION TO FUTURE LAUNCH VEHICLES PLANS or Markus Lindroos). this website deals with the concepts which led to the actual shuttle.
The program started right from July 1969, to july 1972. During these three years, NASA studied all configurations possibles. The Fully reusable shuttle (only two stages , one enormous booster+one big orbiter with internal tank) lasted until June 1971; then, for one year, cheaper alternatives were studied, following two ways
- the Shuttle tank was move out of the orbiter; this reduced weight and size of the orbiter from 60m and 180tons to the actual 80tons and 37m.
- the booster was the main problem.
At the beginnig, it was effectively what you describe; after that, to eliminate the pilot and the rest, they studied retrorocket and parachutes; then they cut the booster in two elements.
After they choose two separate boosters, the problem was now : what fuel for them? Liquid and solid rocket motors were watched... and the SRB were chose.
As you know, this decision led to the Challenger disaster  14 years later...
I made a model of the original shuttle in 1/144 scale : even at this scale, this is an enormous beast! The actual shuttle is really a dwarf  compairing to that... I will post photos if you want...  
In fact the only way of making a fully reusable shuttle in 1970 was : two stage, both with rocket engines. the problem was the first stage was gigantic, and this gigantic plane (= A-380 length) was to come back to the launch site flying like a plane... with a pilot of course!  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 13, 2006, 11:45:33 pm
I found the link for the website http://www.abo.fi/~mlindroo/SpaceLVs/Slides/sld001.htm (http://www.abo.fi/~mlindroo/SpaceLVs/Slides/sld001.htm)
It's not easy to read that, but all the concepts for the space shuttle are here
3.The Space Shuttle (1968-72)
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: elmayerle on April 13, 2006, 11:51:28 pm
If you've not seen it, I can recommend this site and the animations it has:

Deep Cold (http://www.deepcold.com/)
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 14, 2006, 06:55:25 am
Thanks you very much elmayerle! In one word :FANTASTIC
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 17, 2006, 08:57:35 am
I like the idea of NASA buying dynasoar in 1973, because the enormous budget wasted (well, not totally, but the cost of the shuttle was so enormous that some sacrifices had to be made) in the space shuttle permit
- to launch three more Apollo capsules (CSM-102, CSM-105 and CSM-119 with Saturn 209, 211 and 212 if a remember well)  after Apollo-Soyouz in july 1975
- this mean continuous american space flights between 1975 and 1981
- to launch the last two Saturn V (514 and 515) one with Skylab 2, the other with a big  international module (after the Helsinki conference in 1975)  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 18, 2006, 06:06:08 am
NASA received 10 DynaSoar launched by an upgraded Titan III with two big SRB, the Titan V, with two enormous SRB on the flancs...
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 19, 2006, 02:33:48 am
In 2005, NASA replace the titan V by a fully reusable launcher. To obtain that, they use the Kistler K1 rocket (reusable using Airbags and parachutes) and add two Starboosters reusable flyback boosters. The Kistler engines are replaced by reusable engines; the competition opposed the new SDME (Space Dynasoar Main Engine) and the RD-701 from the MAKS shuttle (competitor of the DynaSoar since the late 80's). The RD-701 are chosen because of their tripropellant technology (Ie they used a mix of Hydrogen (lot of energy, but nighmare to handle) and Kerosene (easy to handle, but low energy) along with Oxygen oxidiser). The mix of the two fuels permit to save weight, as demonstrated by robert Salked in the 70's.  
The new launcher is named the StarKistler. Combination of Kistler, Starbooster, MAKS engines and Dynasoar space plane permit to have for the first time a fully reusable launch vehicle (albeit multistages)  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 19, 2006, 02:38:22 am
Here's the 4 elements the NASA combined to have its fully reusable launcher...  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Lord Darth Beavis on April 19, 2006, 11:57:28 pm
Great concepts, Archie, but for one teeny, tiny little problem...NASA, like most US Gummint programs suffers from the Not Invented Here syndrome, and I fear it will eventually be the downfall of our space program, not to mention most of the defense industries in this country.

Keep dreaming, though.  Hopefully some of those dreams will make their way into a NASA boss's head (not bloody likely, though!).
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: elmayerle on April 20, 2006, 12:36:05 am
*chuckle* That's one of the best things about JSF, they've very deliberately trashed the NIH attitude and are quite open to good ideas from anywhere.  For instance, I can name one component that combines ideas from drag racing transmissions and high performance aircraft brakes.
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 20, 2006, 12:59:40 am
Not Invented Here syndrome... What's this illness exactly??? ( I know NASA is ill from the beginning of the space shuttle era...)
I'm very interested in Kistler K-1 rocket in think it could be a good idea for recovering a rocket quite simply (Parachutes and AIRBAGS... why noone thought about this solution before?). The trouble with Kistler is its weak payload to orbit (4500kg in LEO). It's because they use old russian rocket engines (NK-33 and NK-45 from the disastrous N-1!), and also because there's no boosters.
To boost LEO payload, we need better engines and boosters ok?
Concerning russians engines, they made much better things than the NK-33 : the RD-701 I mentionned is a fantastic engine (powerful, tripropellant and reusable)
concerning boosters, reusable flyback boosters projects have been well studied. The most advanced concepts are
- Krounitchev Baikal
- Hu Davis StarBooster
I just think a fully reusable launcher could be made, starting from the Kistler K-1 reusable core (parachutes and airbags) with  RD-701 engines + Starboosters (or Baikal)  to augment LEO payload... Such a launcher could have a LEO payload equivalent to Ariane V or Atlas V, but at the same time IT IS REUSABLE quite simply (Starboosters came back to the lauch site flying like UCAV, Kistler K-1 stages with airbags and parachutes)
Just for fun : do you think i can send this project to NASA ? :P
More seriously, I really want to know if my concept is flawed from a technical point of view
I explain this concenpt more in details here  http://starmaks.populus.org/rub/1 (http://starmaks.populus.org/rub/1)
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: elmayerle on April 20, 2006, 04:06:46 pm
Not Invented Here Syndrome - a pathological management (generally) behavior consisting of refusing to consider ideas and approaches that were not conceived by the organization (company, agency, etc.) of the manager.

This syndrome is all together too prevalent in business and government.  It explains the reluctance with which all too many good ideas, first developed by others, are resisted.

There is a converse syndrome, the Not Invented Elsewhere Syndrome wherein management will only consider radical new ideas from outside the company even if the same idea has been suggested internally before.  The only company I've ever seen exhibit this syndrome was Gates Learjet Corporation and it's been two decades or more, now, since Gates owned Learjet.
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 21, 2006, 02:15:37 am
So elmayerle if I understand well, there's no chance NASA adopt Kistler or Starbooster ideas, because they were not invented by NASA...  :blink:  :wacko: this is a dogmatic point of view... thanks for your explanations!  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 21, 2006, 05:55:28 am
In May 1973 Skylab 1 was launched by Saturn V 513. After having launch this first station, Nasa had a brilliant idea: joining the two skylab. to do that, Skylab was modified with a multiple docking system. this system had four ports; first was for docking with Skylab 1, second for the future spaceships, and the two others for future modules.
After Skylab 1, the multiple join modul (MJM) was launched by a titan III in march 1974. It docked to skylab 1 automaticaly. After that, in may 1974 Skylab II was launched by Saturn 515. The two station once again docked, forming an enormous complex of 160 tons. Three days later on 16th May 1974 CSM-102 was launched with Shirra, Slayton and Young. They docked and stay 4 months. Others CSM followed in 1975, in paralel with the ATSP mission. During this mission and the Helsinki meeting, NASA proposed the european and Russians improving the Skylab complex. To do that, a program was set up
- The last Saturn V, number 514 would be used to lauch a huge module name Cosmos international. This module would be made by the Europeans, russians and Americans. Wheiging 95 tons, it carried a huge internal volume to the skylab complex.
- The Russian were invited to dock a Saliout space station to this huge complex, adding 20 tons.
cosmos international was launched in February 1977, and Saliout 6I (International) in march 1978.
A huge space station was now orbiting earth; the soviets partially replaced the soyuz by the TKS from 1980. The last apollo CSM (number 119) was launched in 1977. At the time, DynaSoars were flying for two years but NASA liked its apollo capsules.  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: RLBH on April 22, 2006, 12:49:16 pm

Since the thrust of the StarKistler at liftoff is comprised of that from two StarBooster 200 flyback stages and one modified Kistler K-1 main stage, the most economical option is to replace the three NK-33 engines of the basic Kistler with one RD-701, with a small loss in thrust; this is easily made up by the additional thrust of the two RD-180 engines on the StarBooster stages.

A straight replacement of three NK-33 engines with one RD-701 engine, maintaining the same fuel volume, gives a first stage of the following characteristics, dubbed the Kistler/701:

Dry Mass*: 26,091 kg
Gross Mass: 178,705 kg
Burn Time: 328 seconds
Specific Impulse: 415 seconds in vacuo

* Dry Mass includes propellants for return of stage to launch site.

This stage would be slightly longer than the basic Kistler K-1 first stage, due to the requirement for three fuel tanks rather than two, but is slightly lighter overall, assuming that the same tankage mass ration can be maintained. This is highly unlikely, but will suffice for the purposes of this evaluation. The StarBooster 200 and Kistler K-2 upper stages are assumed to be identical to those proposed by the firms in question.

The basic stack assumed consists of two StarBooster 200 stages in parallel with a Kistler/701, with a Kistler K-1 upper stage serially mounted on top of the Kistler/701. This stack will operate to low earth orbit with a Dynasoar spacecraft of total mass 7,565 kg including propellants.

Assuming that gravitational and aerodynamic forces result in 5% velocity losses averaged out through a launch, this provides for the following payload conditions:

185 km altitude circular orbit: 13,630 kg exclusive of Dynasoar
Geostationary Transfer Orbit: 2,195 kg

Clearly, no Dynasoar can be launched onto a geostationary transfer orbit by this booster in its’ basic form. It is, however, possible to upgrade the booster by adding further StarBooster parallel stages and by adding a further, expendable, upper stage.

If the StarKistler is used as a dedicated heavy-lift launch vehicle, without the Dynasoar orbiter but with two additional StarBooster 200 flyback boosters and the Ariane 5 ESC B upper stage, the following can be achieved:

185 km altitude circular orbit: 44,790 kg
Geostationary Transfer Orbit: 18,670 kg

The capacity to carry out this mission would require little further development beyond the basic StarKistler design, and potentially offers a multinational reusable heavy lifter in a comparatively short timeframe as compared to a from-scratch design. Were the StarKistler to be developed, such a vehicle would be a logical addition.

All analyses have been based on the assumption that the launch site would be located exactly on the equator, and do not take into account the mass of any shroud required by the payload. In actual operation, neither of these would be satisfied, and the payload would have to be reduced.

The results of the analysis do, however, suggest that the StarKistler reusable launch vehicle would be a viable booster for the NASA Dynasoar program.

This analysis has used data from Mark Wade’s Encyclopaedia Astronautica (www.astronautix.com). Calculations were carried out in Microsoft EXCEL using formulae from Robert Braeunig’s Rocket and Space Technology page on Orbital Mechanics (http://www.braeunig.us/space/orbmech.htm).

I hope this has answered your question about the feasibility of the StarKistler concept. If you have further questions, or wish me to investigate other arrangements, just ask.

Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 22, 2006, 01:53:32 pm
Ok thank you very much! To be honest with you, I don't give a damn about DynaSoar. The main important thing for me is knowing that
- the concept would be feasible
- its payload
I ask you other question : do you think there's drawbacks combining the basic Kistler concept (ie parachutes/ airbags) and Starbooster? And is this launcher  really fully reusable?
I know Kistler and Starbooster are in difficulties so this launcher project is  (sadly) hypothetical.
So if this concept seems good (not flawed I hope , because I'm not a specialist!!) I'd like to see it spread on the web (once again, to see if it flawed or not)
Well, I red much thing about reusable space vehicles and these three options (Tripropellant, Flyback Booster and Parachutes/airbags) seems good.
 So, why not combining the three to have this damned fully reusable launch vehicle we have wait  for so much years... ?
Nice to see someone backing this idea which turn into my head for some months now...
PS I explain it a bit further here http://starmaks.populus.org/rub/1 (http://starmaks.populus.org/rub/1)
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: RLBH on April 22, 2006, 03:32:49 pm
As regards the recovery methods, I have doubts about the feasibility of Kistler's airbag system. Far easier, to my mind, is an oceanic splashdown. OK, so you'll need ships to recover it, but (if we're talking NASA here) the ships already exist, and diesel is an awful lot cheaper than RP-1, LH2 or LOX are.

What waterborne recovery does for you is means that the entire fuel mass can be given over to accelerating the upper stage and payload, giving you something like (wild-donkey guess here) 10% more payload for only the cost of operating the recovery ships. And, of course, water is far more prone to giving way when things hit than rocks, so at least some parts may be recoverable if the parachutes don't perform as advertised.

StarBooster, I think, is pretty doable, and is suitable to its' purpose. You get a controllable strap-on booster stage, which no present launcher has, but is nothing difficult to do. The recovery system is a UAV - which there are years of experience with. So, yes, it's pretty good for booster applications.

My major concern is the use of LH2 in the tripropellant engines. It gives pretty good performance, yes, and the tripropellant system largely overcomes the density issue, but LH2 is expensive. As in, $3.60 per kilogram, as compared to $0.20 for LOX. That sort of pricing puts customers right off; the successful commercial boosters only use hydrogen on the highest stages.

Not to say that the StarKistler is infeasible; it could certainly be done, and it's a far better idea than some things taken seriously in the various space programs (SSTO, anyone?). It's just not the way I'd get into space cheaply.
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Madoc on April 22, 2006, 10:53:22 pm
Kistler?  StarKistler?  Dynasoar?

Boys, boys, boys... if it be heavy lift you're talkin' about then, lads, don't be to messin' around w' the wee stuff now, eh!

Instead, boyos, cast your eyes upon the true heavy lifter o' them all.

Aye, that's the thing.  

The Sea Dragon (http://www.friends-partners.org/partners/mwade/lvs/searagon.htm)

450,000 kg of payload boyos!  That's 1.2 million pounds in real weight!  And they would've built the thing in a _shipyard!_

Nothing would've come close to it!

Except, of course, an Orion.  Ah, but there's a horse o' a different color there!

Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 23, 2006, 01:13:27 am
Not to say that the StarKistler is infeasible; it could certainly be done, and it's a far better idea than some things taken seriously in the various space programs (SSTO, anyone?)
Thank you very much!

Recovery at sea is not so easy. Salt attack structures, and falling too high on water is like falling on the ground -ie harsh and destructive-
NASA is now clearly dispointed about recovery at sea. Shuttle SRB are not reuse (or only some parts of them)
Ok, NASA boat exists... but they are not availble for private firms. Imean, if aprivate launch firm must built a boat, pay sailors and recovery team and the last, this add costs. Kistler idea is not only airbags; it is also "using some fuel to send the stages to the launch site". Iunderstand what you say about the fuel for that; that's right it's a waste.
 Its much easy to recover a stage on land three kilometers from the launch pad with a simple crane and a truck than making 2500kms by boat, taking the stage out of the water (in a storm case, the stage can sunk... and you lose money!), go back to the coast.
Why not combining the two? no fuel for return to launch site, but landing on the ground with airbags, not in the ocean. Concerning airbags, I'm astonished that they could resist Mars landings. I mean, parachute don't brake much (Mars atmosphere is too thin) so the probe arrive at full speed; mars grounds is full of rocks; so the airbags duty is hard. But apparently they resist quite well... I admit, a big rocket stage is much heavier than a Mars probe.  
What i like with airbags is
- they complete parachutes much better than the water of the ocean
- they are much, much lighter than an enormous "plane structure" for a big rocket stage.
In starbooster, the "plane structure" is acceptable because
- its a booster, so it doesn't fly too high and too quick
- as a booster, size and weight are not too big
so the booster is not bigger than UAV or Cruise missiles currently flying today.  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 23, 2006, 01:24:18 am
Well in fact there's a raging debate between the three ideas
- recovery at sea with parachutes
- recovery on land near the launch pad with airbags and parachutes
- recovery on an airport like a plane
- no recovery at all!!!
It's hard to say what option is better... Airbags are a new way of recovery, combined with some fuel in the stages to send them back to the launch site.
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: RLBH on April 23, 2006, 07:42:30 am
Actually, my personal preference is for the "Big Dumb Booster" idea. HTP/kerosene propellants, build the sucker in a shipyard, launch once and throw away. Since there's no need for reuse, you can get away with really low tolerances on most components, which is cheaper. Kerosene is as cheap as dirt (by rocketry standards) and using HTP as an oxidiser gives you a storable combination that's no more awkward than hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide.

It's also relatively environmentally friendly, considering that any option will be based around producing huge amounts of polluting fumes. At least carbon dioxide and water don't normally dissolve the spectators.

I've come up with a range of launchers along these lines, with a LOX/RP-1 upper stage for slightly higher performance; the cheapest option per unit mass offers 26,290 kilograms to low earth orbit for just $1,370 per kilogram; the most expensive, 8,530 kg for $2,245 per kilogram. The Russian Proton, currently the cheapest launcher on the market, delivers 21,000 kilograms to low orbit at a cost of approximately $3,335 per kilogram.

I'd forgotten that the airbag system was used on Mars, so I suppose there is the precedent, and it did work. There again, a 600 kilogram probe doesn't quite compare with a 18,000 kilogram rocket stage, especially not in three times the gravity. Methinks this would need some large-scale trials before becoming operational. If the trajectory and/or launch site are chosen appropriately, it's certainly possible to recover downrange on land; in fact, the Russians designed the Zenit first stage to do this without airbags.

If we're going to do this, and can find a few investors, might I suggest a launch site somewhere like the Canaries, so that we've got the entire Sahara Desert downrange to hit. In fact, I think you can launch on almost any azimuth if you don't mind throwing away the stages.
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 23, 2006, 08:04:55 am
I like too the idea of the big dumb booster. This mean that there's no turbopump to force the propellants in the engine no? To obtain that  propellants must be under pression on the tanks, Ie the tanks must be thick like walls.
Its a cheap and powerfull idea. aparently it was one of the idea studied by NASA for the shuttle in 1971-1972, along with Saturn V S-1B and the f...astidious SRBs. They discovered that the strength of the tanks make them easy to recover at sea (Ie they were very robust and can't sunk!)
Cocerning the airbags, the rocket stage is of course much heavier but in comparison to Mars the Earth atmospher is much thicker so the Parachutes are much more efficient. This mean much less violent shock for the airbags... in fact Airbags were used instead of retrorockets because they use no fuel. In every case the parachutes were not efficient on Mars...
I heard that the whole Energia launcher was recoverable by parachutes, not only the Zeniths. aparently there was also retrorockets (which mean more fuel and weight penalty, so they are not interesting)

Before imagining the StarKistler I spend some months downloading hundreds of pages on RLV. I tried to  make a kind of classification of RLV concepts from an engine, number of stage point of view.  The result of this work is on my website... (I must traduce it in english lol)
On one hand, SSTO; on the other hand, TSTO...  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: elmayerle on April 23, 2006, 04:09:01 pm
I tend to like the 1-1/2 stage to orbit concept of the Black Horse/Black Colt series of studies wherein the orbiter uses a couple high-performance jet engines and a Kero/Lox rocket engine.  The orbiter takes off like a normal aircraft on jet engines with a full fuel load but no LOx; it takes that onboard from a "tanker" aircraft (that condenses it as it goes) via standard inflight refueling methods and then climbw to orbit.  It returns and lands like a standard aircraft.
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 23, 2006, 10:56:10 pm
I know this concept too... it was studied by USAF in 1994. Main problems are flight refuelling is not easy on this case (it's a rocket, not a fighter so the mass of Kerosene to trasnfer is huge, causing stability problems during the refuelling). Other problem is even if the plane take off with the fuel tank empty, it is still too heavy to reach orbit by itself and you need an expendable upper stage to send the payload in orbit.
The concept is nevertheless interesting because it take off from an airport (much more easy than a launch pad).
Other interesting concept is MAKS, but the spaceplane has an expendable tank. Apparently the blackstar is the same concept but a revolutionnary fuel (?) eliminate the external, expendable fuel tank (the mothership has also a superior top speed, the engine are Aerospikes)  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 25, 2006, 02:46:47 am
Concerning single stages to orbit, the way is very difficult
- airbreathing engines such a Turbofans or Ramjets gave  a top speed of mach6 before the light of the Rocket engine. Comparing to Mach25 orbital speed, this is too weak and as a consequence rocket fuel consuption is still too much (even at mach 6, you need external tanks to reach orbit).
Aparently the best option would be starting the rocket engine after reaching mach 10. Of course, you need another airbreathing engine to accelerate between mach6 and mach10... this is the scramjet. Problems with it are so enormous that 40 years have passed between the concept phase in the 60's and the first succesfull flight in the 90's-2000's.
Other solution would pure rocket from take off to orbit. In this case you have huge mass penalties, as Tsikolvski demonstrated 100 years ago! 92% of the take off mass must be... propellants! This explain quite simply why the X-33 failed...
Variant of the concept include the concept describe by madoc (in smaller variants). The main problem with that is weight augmentation.
On the paper, the concept seems viable. the problem is in every spaceship or plane design and building phase, there's weight problems. for example, the A380 must weight 540 tons at the beginning, and ended near 560/570. This 2% augmentation can be catastrophic for the concept Madoc described... and it is unavoidable!
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: GTX on April 25, 2006, 03:26:52 pm
Hi folks,

This discussion reminded me of the RASCAL (Responsive Access, Small Cargo, Affordable Launch) program/concepts. Here (http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/systems/rascal.htm) is some information.  I also have a full presentation prepared by JPL (I think) somewhere - if I can find it, it is available to anyone interested.


Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 26, 2006, 06:06:35 am
Interesting concept. Semi reusable with exependable upper stage... hypersonic airbreathing first stage is not easy to make, but DARPA represent one of the best laboratories in the world... and such stage could be very useful later  
Title: DynaSoar spaceplane
Post by: Archibald on April 28, 2006, 05:31:36 am
Lets come back to Dyna Soar...
After 15 years of successfull flight with USAF, NASA and CIA, the DynaSoar I was free for export markets. After the outbreak of WWIII in 1983, many countries needed high performances recon system to overfly USSR.

The US governement wanted to sell the DynaSoar spaceplane to its allies but a big problem quickly appeared. The DynaSoar launcher, Titan V was unafordable for exports markets, because of its costs, launch pad, and assembly line. As a consequence, Boeing proposed a much simpler way of launching the space plane.

The idea was using a 747 and an expendable upper stage to push the small shuttle in orbit. Boeing first thought was using the Saturn V S-IVB but it was impossible to put it piggy back on the 747 because of its big diameter. More, its J-2 engines were using hydrogen, a dangerous fuel to handle.
As a consequence, Boeing changed its plans and created a cheap expendable stage. They used the H-1 engine of the Saturn I rocket; it had the same thrust as the J-2 but used Kerosen, like its 747 carrier!
More, Boeing ingeneers had a brilliant idea : they adapted the diameter of the stage to the 747 cargo bay. This idea allowed the foreign users of the system to use the 747 not only as launcher, but also as ferrying aircraft!
The 747 launcher was basically similar to the 747-200F, but part of the fuel (and range) was cut to boost the payload at take off. Payload was now 160 tons at take off, range was 4500km only (but sufficient)
The system was quite cheap because the 747, H-1 and DynaSoar were well-known technologies... so DynaSoar started to wear foreign markings (stay tunned!)