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Author Topic: The Guild of Icarus: Aerospace Engineering and Aeronautical Club  (Read 55162 times)
J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #200 on: April 20, 2021, 10:03:40 pm »

Telemetry data received from Mars helicopter Ingenuity confirms that it has successfully performed its first flight.

NASA: First Flight of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter: Live from Mission Control.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1KolyCqICI

First image of the shadow of Mars helicopter Ingenuity cast over the Martian surface during its flight. The on-board terrain-tracking camera captured this image.


Still shot from a video of Mars helicopter Ingenuity during its maiden flight. The video was captured by a camera on board rover Perseverance.


That will show those pesky Martians! We'll see how good their tripods are once we can drop pointy things down on them from our fearsome aerial forces!

Re. the SpaceX lunar lander, on a more negative note I read the 2024 dealine has been quiety dropped due to an insufficent budget. Haven't we been here before? Lots of fanfair about returning to the moon, then cost cutting, slipped dates and then the whole thing is shelved. I hope that's not the case, but I worry history is repeasting itself. Again.

Yours,
Miranda.
I haven't heard anything from the date, other than someone from NASA cautioning SpaceX that maintaining a 2024 deadline is very "ambitious." NASA gets a budget approved every year and a certain allocation was required to maintain the bidding process and development of a lunar lander for 2021. From what I understand for this year they only got $850 million from Congress as opposed to the $3.3 billion they were requesting. In the words of many, they had no choice but to pick SpaceX, because they were the only ones willing to delay / reduce / reschedule payments for the development of the lander, because SpaceX was already developing the lander version of Starship out of pocket. Congress was expecting was to receive a proposal for a prototype contest between at least two different contractors (similar to the Lockheed Martin + Boeing YF-22 and Northrop + MC Donnell YF-23 contest back in the 90s), but NASA only selected one contractor. This was a political maneuver from NASA as this was the only way they could meet Congress's demand - the assumption being that congress was expecting otherwise to see exactly what you described, and indefinite hold on the project.

Instead NASA hung them from their own petard. There will be no delay and Artemis will go on (or they'll pretend it will), officially speaking, because SpaceX actually met all obligations. By selecting a single contractor, many of the senators from states who had strong political lobbying from local industry would have to go back to their donors and tell them that they would lose the hundreds of millions of dollars they expected from the contracts. Potentially more to the States for hosting a winning contract to build the lander. Now there might be pressure from industry in congress to increase budget for Artemis in the future fiscal years, so you can have a proper bidding contest. Congressmen would much rather see as many aerospace companies participating as possible. Sometimes in large military bids, when one contractor loses a bid they are still awarded manufacture contracts for building parts of the opponent's winning vehicle. It's all about the economic domino effect that happens when one state hosts companies with large government contracts.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #201 on: May 06, 2021, 03:25:51 am »

Looks like SpaceX' SN 15 stuck the landing this time.

Starship | SN15 | High-Altitude Flight Test
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #202 on: July 12, 2021, 08:14:07 am »

This happened on Sunday, and even though I'm not a fan of suborbital flight, it has to count as more than just a ballistic shot below the (100 km) Kármán line of the atmosphere (the ship's apogee does go over the 80km line that NASA defines as the edge of the atmosphere). Here's Sir Richard Branson behaving as badly as he can muster during the launch of VSS Unity, a Spaceship Two class suborbital space plane.


Watch Richard Branson fly to space (Virgin Galactic Unity22 supercut)

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Miranda.T
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« Reply #203 on: July 12, 2021, 11:23:10 pm »

This happened on Sunday, and even though I'm not a fan of suborbital flight, it has to count as more than just a ballistic shot below the (100 km) Kármán line of the atmosphere (the ship's apogee does go over the 80km line that NASA defines as the edge of the atmosphere). Here's Sir Richard Branson behaving as badly as he can muster during the launch of VSS Unity, a Spaceship Two class suborbital space plane.


Watch Richard Branson fly to space (Virgin Galactic Unity22 supercut)



After the retirement of the shuttle, I though when SpaceShipOne took the X-prize nearly 20 years ago was a new dawn for space planes, but they seem to have not really progressed whilst their competitors (principally SpaceX) have overtaken them. Shame; having grown up watching Thunderbirds et.al. I still believe routine, reliable and cost-effective access to space will ultimately only be achieved via space planes.

Yours,
Miranda.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #204 on: July 13, 2021, 02:49:58 am »

This happened on Sunday, and even though I'm not a fan of suborbital flight, it has to count as more than just a ballistic shot below the (100 km) Kármán line of the atmosphere (the ship's apogee does go over the 80km line that NASA defines as the edge of the atmosphere). Here's Sir Richard Branson behaving as badly as he can muster during the launch of VSS Unity, a Spaceship Two class suborbital space plane.


Watch Richard Branson fly to space (Virgin Galactic Unity22 supercut)



After the retirement of the shuttle, I though when SpaceShipOne took the X-prize nearly 20 years ago was a new dawn for space planes, but they seem to have not really progressed whilst their competitors (principally SpaceX) have overtaken them. Shame; having grown up watching Thunderbirds et.al. I still believe routine, reliable and cost-effective access to space will ultimately only be achieved via space planes.

Yours,
Miranda.


The fundamental problem for me is that Sir Richard Branson's spaceplanes are only suborbital. There is no way to convert the existing vehicles into orbital vehicles because the burn duration is very short, and they're simply not designed to enter the atmosphere at well over Mach 20. But he can always redesign Spaceship One into something else and maintain the launch aircraft.

I also believe that rockets, no matter how well they can be re-used will never have the potentially short turn around time of a spaceplane that can take off horizontally from any airport in the world. That remains the Holy Grail to many people of my generation. But if you look at the public, everyone is too busy throwing mud on NASA and older modes of space transportation. The fashion today is Space X.

Part of the problem is that the public only see the Space Shuttle failures and not the gains. There's very little science education among the public nowadays, so public support is based on nationalism, politics, anything but science.

As with all of aircraft's history, development of a new power plant, such as the British RB 545, and it's derivative, the SABRE, is imperative to reach the next level of performance, namely HOTOL. I think that it can be done but it requires support from Congress and making some hard funding decisions which are not popular, and probably some redesigns of the engine configuration. I'd like to see, for example linear aerospike nozzles (for flat rectangular thrust jets), such as that used in the X-33 concept in order to relieve the fuselage's tail of any impinging thrust gases. This is a very fundamental and practical geometric design problem. I'd also like to see the return of the silica tiles and blankets, which I think solve a great deal of problems.

It's almost impossible to convince young people that the Shuttle tile system was actually very good. The practical issues of ablation and mechanical failure in the thermal protection system were partly attributable to the very large size of the shuttle. There may be other mechanical techniques out there that I'm not aware of, which could maintain the tiles in place, but designing a usable aerodynamic control surface very much depends on a skin that is resistant to heat and impervious to chemical reactions and molecular deposition.

Elon Musk is rooting for stainless steel with a special re-entry trajectory which keeps the rocket out of the atmosphere while slowing itself as much as possible (to the detriment of 3D rotational stability). I think he has not ruled out a protective skin, and quite the opposite, he needs a ceramic coating of some sort, and without more details on the re-entry parameters, I don't know how far he can push his luck. All I can think is that the rocket's body is very large, fairly light and that helps give a gigantic surface area to itself slow down at higher altitudes, plus the size helps with rotational inertia which is necessary to maintain stability while the flaps and aero-grids wait for a higher atmospheric density to function properly.

The re-entry trajectory of the X-33 was a much steeper dive, designed to employ aerodynamic forces much sooner, and you needed Inconel panels which were more or less expendable. I called them potato chips after looking at NASA's presentation in Reno, I forget exactly what year (probably 2002).

Start small, with a single passenger vehicle with drop tanks (reusable if you want to). But a vehicle that has a much faster turnaround. In that sense Branson's Spaceship One concept is better as a starting point. More like Virgin Orbital than Virgin Galactic. It could be done.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2021, 04:54:12 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Miranda.T
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« Reply #205 on: July 15, 2021, 09:24:01 pm »

Indeed, having a skin that can survive re-entry is an even greater challenge than propulsion. What was that material that was supposedly discovered a couple of decades ago that was malleable like a metal but had the melting point of a ceramic? Was is starlight or something like that? Anyway, rather inconveniently the formula was somehow lost, so the ultimate goal here is to reproduce that formula (if it ever existed in the first place...)

Yours,
Miranda.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #206 on: July 16, 2021, 07:07:46 pm »

Indeed, having a skin that can survive re-entry is an even greater challenge than propulsion. What was that material that was supposedly discovered a couple of decades ago that was malleable like a metal but had the melting point of a ceramic? Was is starlight or something like that? Anyway, rather inconveniently the formula was somehow lost, so the ultimate goal here is to reproduce that formula (if it ever existed in the first place...)

Yours,
Miranda.

I don't have a clue, never heard of it. Inconel was the material used for the X-33, it's melting point is between 2,350°F and 2,460°F (1,290°C and 1,350°C). Beyond that Titanium has a melting point of 1668 °C (3034 °F). The chemical reactivity of the material may be as important as the melting point, because oxidation and chemical deposition of radicals creates heat concentrated on the surface of the metal.
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