[–] Apathy 0 points 17 points (+17|-0) ago 

Seeing all of these billionaires do this shit makes me wonder just what the fuck our governments have been doing.

[–] Dfens [S] 2 points 12 points (+14|-2) ago 

Making more billionaires by giving them your tax dollars. Do you have a problem with that? I sure do.

[–] knightwarrior41 1 points 5 points (+6|-1) ago 

Making more billionaires by giving them your tax dollars. Do you have a problem with that? I sure do.

someone gets it

[–] VoatIsForTimmy 0 points 7 points (+7|-0) ago 

They're paying welfare, and bringing in migrants to kill us and collect even more welfare. Who has money left over for science and advance tech?

[–] turbofaggot 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago  (edited ago)

People have to look at what game is being played. The few billionaires that got there by being great engineers will do more great things. Politicians get their success by being corrupt scumbags. That's how to win that game. So the end result is that gGovernment will almost never do great things.

The US rocket program was a huge failure until they brought in the Nazi, Werner Von Braun. The program before that was called the Vanguard rocket program. It was a disaster. Politicians fuck everything up. Especially in cucked America.

[–] DownRange 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Trafficking children/drugs/guns.

[–] adeldor 0 points 7 points (+7|-0) ago  (edited ago)

The lowest viable orbit is around 530,000 ft @ 18,000 mph. Against that, the boost from being launched at 35,000 ft @ 500 mph is small. Even the advantage afforded to the nozzle design by the thinner air is minor. So carrier height and speed aren't the reasons for choosing air launch.

The big advantages with air launch are:

  • flexibility of orbital inclination without having to overfly populated areas,

  • bypassing the current burden of paperwork required for a vertical launch,

  • ability to fly around bad weather, thus improving schedule reliability.

ETA: tying the booms together might actually cause problems. Being free to flex individually is important to structural stability. I have no doubt Scaled Composites investigated the design very well beforehand. It has a good working model already - White Knight 2.

[–] Dfens [S] 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

No, you should model a rocket mathematically. The numbers show that even a small initial delta v is huge.

[–] adeldor 0 points 7 points (+7|-0) ago  (edited ago)

I have some background in this subject. I'll attempt to illustrate the minor advantage offered by air launch through the use of a simplified example. Apologies in advance for the math.

This illustrative example is simplified by eliminating staging and bumping Isp to high levels (don't want too much math in a mere Voat post :-) ). Note: without staging, this simplification works significantly in favor of air launch.

If you start with Tsiolkovsky's infamous Rocket Equation

ΔV = Ispg0ln(mi/mf)

and rework it to determine final mass at burnout, you end up with

mf = mi/e(ΔV/(Ispg0))


ΔV is total change in velocity

Isp is specific impulse of the rocket (assume 400 seconds, simplified choice for this example)

g0 is gravitational force (9.81m/s2)

mi is initial mass of rocket including propellant and payload (25,000 kg)

mf is final mass of depleted rocket including payload

If the ΔV required for orbit from a ground launch is 9,500 m/s (about right if one includes gravity and atmospheric losses), it would result in a final mass to orbit of

25,000/e(9,500/(400x9.81)) = 2,221 kg.

Now subtract the 500 mph (about 220 m/s), and subtract another 80 m/s for lower gravity and atmospheric losses (rounded number for ease), the final mass to orbit from the air launch becomes

25,000/e(9,200/(400x9.81)) = 2,397 kg.

That's a difference of 176 kg, or an increase of about 8%.

Even with the large advantage being given to air launch in this example (no staging), the difference in mass lofted to orbit is minor. Of course, there are many real-world complications that would fuzz this example, but the first order approximation shown here holds, regardless.

[–] InterestingThings 0 points 6 points (+6|-0) ago 

You mentioned Saturn V, so...

Stratolaunch is useful for small payloads objects going to low-earth orbit, but would never take men to the moon.

Why? The entire Saturn V stack, fully fueled, was 6.5 million lbs. The first stage (fully fueled) was about 5.1 million lbs by itself.

So subtraction gives us 1.4 million lbs of the Saturn V stack (S-II, S-IVB, lunar module, service module, command module, escape tower), that staged onwards to the moon after the Saturn V first stage was expended.

At the point in the launch where the Saturn V first stage was expended, it had pushed the rest of the Saturn V stack (1.4 million lbs) to 4443.7 nautical miles per hour, at an altitude of 218,736 feet.

Compare that to the Statolaunch which essentially functions as a "Stage 1".

The Stratolaunch Systems Carrier plane lifts 500,000 lbs, has a max speed of 530 mph (unknown if that max speed is at maximum capacity), and releases its the payload at 35,000 feet.

So, Stratolaunch is 900,000 lbs shy of mass-capacity equivalence, 3,913 mph shy of providing equivalent delta-V, and 183,736 feet shy of providing the equivalent air-resistance (altitude).

In other words, WAY too little to get astronauts to the moon. Stratolaunch would not be able to replace the Shuttle's SRBs either, but I'll save those calculations for another time.

Stratolaunch does have its uses though. Your first stage "flies back" and isn't wasted, potentially less-complicated and less-risky launch for smaller payloads, and as another mentioned, can avoid launching over populated areas.

[–] Gravspeed 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

Re, edit 2. The split body is to give the payload room. And the payload is why the elevators extend outwards too. The center will be dirty air when loaded.

[–] Dfens [S] 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

I see what you’re saying, but even if they did it like an OV-10 it would still seem to be better than having 2 super long fuselages with only 1 structural tie between them. It’s a brave new digital world and all that, but structurally that raises all kinds of red flags to me.

[–] Gravspeed 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

It does look all kinds of strange doesn't it

[–] prairie 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

The Saturn V that took American astronauts to our Moon burned 1/10th of its fuel load just clearing the launch tower. This platform will give them a 35,000 ft and 500 mph head start.

So an airplane is far more efficient than a rocket for getting height?

Edit2: If I had designed that thing, I would have eliminated the outboard portion of the horizontal stabilizers and joined the 2 inboard sections. It would make the whole thing a lot more rigid. The way it is now, it looks very spindly, like it's going to break in the middle of that wing. I might not know anything, but I have a strong suspicion that airplane design is a lost art in this country.

Too bad they didn't hire you to be on their team of experts.

[–] juicedidwtc 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

honestly its a good thing they didnt. many aircraft like that were built in the past and the design, while cool looking, is inherently unstable.

[–] Dfens [S] 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Oh, I finally realized I missed answering your question. Yes, an airplane is more efficient for gaining height. The most efficient way to generate lift is to turn a large mass of air as little as possible. That's why gliders and U-2 spy planes take to the air so easily. It's also why a helicopter can climb vertically using much less fuel than a fighter jet. A rocket is a very inefficient method of generating lift because it does just the opposite. It generates a small amount of gas that it accelerates to the highest degree possible. Rockets work very well at speeds above Mach 8, but up to that point air breathing engines and wings rule in terms of efficiency.

Edit: added "and wings" in the last sentence.

[–] Dfens [S] 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

It’s a tough business, but I’ve sure seen a lot of stupid stuff lately. Spaceship 1, that little Hondajet, the thing Lockheed calls the SR-72. Lots of money wasted.

[–] [deleted] 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 


[–] Crikes 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Isn't this Burt Rutan's thing?

Edit - Forgot he sold to Virgin Galactic. Is it the same concept?

[–] Dfens [S] 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

Yes, similar in concept but it primarily launches rockets, not that weird looking thing Rutan came up with.

[–] Crikes 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Excellent! Thanks!

[–] repoman 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Why doesn't NASA launch from Denver instead of at sea level?

[–] juicedidwtc 0 points 11 points (+11|-0) ago 

they launch from the point of the US that is closest to the equator. The closer you are to the equator, the more of an initial boost you get because you start out with the rotational velocity of the earth. Space really is not that high up. The hard part about getting to space isnt achieving the height, its achieving the extreme velocity needed for a stable orbit.

[–] Womb_Raider 1 points 2 points (+3|-1) ago 

This fella knows what's up. It's not about height, but about resisting gravity with sheer speed.

[–] repoman 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Ahh yeah I spose that makes sense. Quito Ecuador should be global space launch HQ then.

[–] ashekchum 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Isn't that the one based on virgin galactic, which has had several failures and set backs?

[–] Dfens [S] 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

I thought it's development was tied to Spaceship1 which now belongs to Virgin Galactic, but in looking it up the mothership for that vehicle is White Knight 1: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/White_Knight_One_by_D_Ramey_Logan.jpg Apparently this is something different.

That Spaceship 1 or whatever they are calling it now is a disaster. They are having tons of compressibility related issues. There are reasons most airplanes don't have tight passages for air to go through. The few that did, like the P-38 (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/62/Lockheed_P-38J_Lightning_-_1.jpg)), had similar issues.

[–] 0xFEEDFACE 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Could you expand on what the "tight passages" refer to on the P-38? I always like that plane, didn't realize it had "issues" :)

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