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Venus-fit technology idea

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Wed May 18, 2005 10:44 am
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Venus-fit technology idea 
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Post Venus-fit technology idea   Posted on: Wed May 18, 2005 10:44 am
Dr_Keith_H wrote in another section

Quote:
Hi, I'm not sure it fits here on the Xprize forums so I thought I would introduce it in this Off Topic forum ... which by the way is semantic enigma by itself ...

But we do yak on about technologies for Mars etc. often enough ...

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/ ... 050405.php

It is pretty interesting stuff, certainly a challenging environment.

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The contents of the link provides a new interesting idea how to explore Venus. To me it seems as if some basic technologies already exist. For example NASA already has an unmanned airplane driven electrically which gets its electricity by solar cells.

It may interesting too for Scaled Composits and for JP Aerospace to work on the vehicle operating in the atmosphere.

What about all that? And what about the thumb vehicle for the venusian surface? ...



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Post    Posted on: Wed May 18, 2005 9:55 pm
That would be perfect for Rutan. Right up his alley.


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Post    Posted on: Thu May 19, 2005 7:53 am
er ... you're not using "alley" as some kind of euphamism are you?

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Post    Posted on: Thu May 19, 2005 6:05 pm
No--I do respect Rutan's ability to build airframes. A MAKS type craft would be perfect for his 'scale' of work. But the actual boosters need to be done by someone else.

A "Rutan Buran" would be perfect--NASA makes an Energiya type HLLV with an RS-68 equipped ET--instead of Energiya's ET with four RD-0120 hydrogen engines.

Rutan could build Buran very easily. Buran only had orbital insertion engines--not ponderous huge SSMEs. Its near SS1 scale insertion engines burned Lox/kerosene, which could be used for landing jets--and the O2 for emergency life-support. Had we flown a (metal heat-shielded) Buran in a heads-up profile--out of foam fall--which has to be fixed for any TSTO (which would also have to use parallel staging / side payload mount) we would't have had the Columbia Disaster.

If we had Energiya and the Russians had STS--the world would have been better off.

The US would have had the EELV-class Zenits (not SRBs) to replace the older Delta's and Atlas--and the orbiters could be switched out for 100 ton payloads--since the engines would be on the ET and not the blasted orbiter.

Large scale hypersonic boilerplates could be launched in the same position as the orbiter--after being released by 747 orbiter ferry for low-speed tests. Hypersonic needs near ful scale tests--not surfboard sized X-43s.

Energiya would have launched 100 ton ISS segments--and it would have been finished--with simpler Buran orbiters leaving 30 tonnes of raw material and recovering the same mass as processed goods. Each 100 ton payload--launched in place of Buran--could have been like the Columbus Free-Flyer the Euros wanted.

We could have had true modularity--and the orbiters down-lift and mass (stable for 100 ton segment construction) would have been an asset instead of a liability.

It wasn't mixing crew-and cargo that doomed the STS--it was putting over-complicated SSMEs on the orbiter.

Big engines on a fly-back with no heat shield is fine. A spaceplane with only insertion engines is good. A plane with that and huge engines both--that becomes ponderous.


I actually challenge the 'don't-mix crew-and-cargo' mantra. Very small top-mount spaceplanes run out of room--and run into weight creep really fast--as do SSTOs that are cryogenic blimps/hypersonic eggshells. By keeping high density crew and cargo together--but by keeping heavy engines and bulky propellant mass outside the airframe--you have an orbiter scaled up big enough to be useful (unlike an X-37 only mini-me could fit in)--but compact enough to be buildable--unlike VentureStar.

You don't use row-boats or super-tankers to visit oil derricks--but mid-sized tugs and such.

But people have been brainwashed into hating such orbiters, so a hypergolic Martin Astro-rocket type TSTO with non-cryogenic porpellants or something like MAKS or HOTOL are what pretty much what is left--apart from SpaceDev's orbital version of their X-34 based Dream Chaser--which looks a lot like a mini, hybrid version of Energiya-Buran--only with tourists and light cargo. They will have no ice or foam problems--and the side-mount reduces pitch-loads and bending moments that threaten to tear top-mount mini-spaceplanes off their rides.

The LockMart OSP/CEV had a picture of a tiny escape tower(AV WEEK) that I doubt could tear that slab off an EELV during max Q. EELVs like axial loads--and that will probably mean capsules for CEV.

Dennis Smith--the X-37 huckster from Marshall--tried to sell Congress a $13 billion OSP program and got laughed off the hill--and this LockMart OSP has his name written all over it. He wanted X-37 launched inside a shroud--for he knew what pitch-loads could do to it.

Hard to bail out through a shroud.


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Post    Posted on: Mon May 23, 2005 1:10 pm
Y'know.... This guy keeps on making more and more sense.

By the way, what do you think of SSTO airbreathers, such as this one and this one? Those two designs aren't that great, but the concept seems pretty good.

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Post    Posted on: Wed May 25, 2005 9:24 pm
Sadly, I must say that I don't think that much of them. Since you are going to need a rocket at some point--save a step and go all rocket. Hu Davis thinks that Air Launch doesn't get you that much BTW.

The problem behind airbreathers is that--while they omit some of the oxidizer mass--you are left with even more severe thermal issues, andthe airframe must be burdened with large scramjet intakes, jets, etc. A rocket is a simple tube--with as much wing as you need. Hard to beat that for simplicity's sake. Plus, the rocket can pop up through the atmosphere and get over it quickly--hypersonics must stay in atmo for oxidant

Let's compare two vehicles. An airbreather is like a sprinter who has to eat his way through flaming jello and build up speed. A rocket is like a fat man who climbs a ladder and loses ten pounds with every step (staging prop mass as thrust). He then is on an upper story race course.


The fat man beats the sprinter every time.


Large scale hypersonic boilerplates--would give good full scale tests. I have heard some good news coming from a contact I have in the Pentagon--who spoke with Pete Worden. He can't say much--but he did say it was "all good news." I think airbreathers will be possible after, say, 2050. Self ferry capability is nice--but a rocket that burns kerosene can have that too.

Ironically--there were some plans for Buran to have jets. The analogue did, and unlike our Enterprise--the Buran analogue could take off under its own power.

With Orbital insertion engines where we put our SSMEs--turbojets could be placed on Buran where we place our OMS pods. I would put them in a mount atop the wing--and have the fuel cells keep them warm with some tubing. Then returning orbiters only need keosene for both orbital insertion and ferry. Extra kero tanks could go in the payload bay for Buran--and extra lox. Buran could fly much higher--take more to orbit--return with more--was simpler--etc.

Plus, by keeping its engines under an ET (Energiya) it gave us a heavy lifter that could be used independantly.

This was the STS we could have had.


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Post    Posted on: Thu May 26, 2005 4:01 am
publiusR wrote:

Quote:
Let's compare two vehicles. An airbreather is like a sprinter who has to eat his way through flaming jello and build up speed. A rocket is like a fat man who climbs a ladder and loses ten pounds with every step (staging prop mass as thrust). He then is on an upper story race course.


The fat man beats the sprinter every time


Good visual 8) .


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Post    Posted on: Thu May 26, 2005 6:43 am
publiusr,

your posts are significantly off-topic compared to the title of this thread and compared to the contents of Dr_Keith_H's post I quoted.

One more off-topic post and this thread is going to be split.



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Post    Posted on: Thu May 26, 2005 12:42 pm
Whoa, mate: it's not all on him, now. I helped him along a bit, there.

publiusr: Ekke's right, though -- we need a new thread. That way you can answer my next question: I tend to like airbreathers because they have the capacity to be a true SSTO, whereas the best rocket designs tend to be two- or three-stage. The airbreathers (while admittedly taking their sweet time to get to orbit) are completely reusable and also offer an outstanding compromise between Isp and thrust-to-weight ratio. Rockets are great at T/W, but usually throw away their lower segments (or said segments have to be completely rebuilt after each launch, as the SRBs), and have a lousy Isp.

Mods: cut&paste?

[edit]Outstanding visual, by the way.[/edit]

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Post    Posted on: Fri May 27, 2005 12:55 pm
To return this thread to its initial topic - JP Aerospace's Dark Sky Station could be the station in the upper atmosphere from where the thumb robot at the surface could be controlled and where the data got by it's sensors etc. could be sent.

Scaled Composites could construct an airplane for Venus which could use the Dark Sky Station as base and would be able to fly around the whole planet without requiring refueling. Refueling may be possible at the Dark Sky Station but as long as the airplane could use solar cells (NASA's vehicle) no propellant would be consumed.

NASA would have to contribute only the solar cell wings and their technology to use the cells. In the deeper regions of the venusian atmosphere the airplane would be driven by propellant.

So JP Aerospace, Scaled Composites and NASA could join their technologies (and forces) and the only component left would be the rover which would have to be designed by NASA.

Are concepts known to cool the robot and its sensors and to keep the Dark Sky Station and the airplane from being damaged by the venusian atmosphere?



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Post    Posted on: Fri May 27, 2005 1:10 pm
Thinking about balloons on Venus reminded me of the Vega program the soviets did back in the 1980's ... here's a synopsis which makes interesting reading ...

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/encyclopedia/V/Ve/Vega_program.htm

One interesting extract ...
Quote:
The balloons were dropped onto the planet's darkside and then deployed at an altitude of about 50 kilometres (31 miles). They then floated upward a few kilometres to their equilibrium altitude. At this altitude, pressure and temperature conditions of Venus are similar to those of Earth, though the planet's winds moved at hurricane velocity and the carbon-dioxide atmosphere is laced with sulfuric acid, along with small concentrations of hydrochloric and hycrofluoric acid.

Sounds tough. There's a bit more detail on what happened to the probes ... go read it yourself! :)

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Post    Posted on: Fri May 27, 2005 1:31 pm
Seems to be a challenge worth to be worked on - space vehicles and planet probes resistent to acids.

Which materials would be optimal if some can be found?



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Post    Posted on: Fri Feb 03, 2006 2:56 pm
Would it be possible to equip even a normal-sized vehicle by emitters of those radiations which crack the chemicals which damage the hull?

It would be sufficient if the chemicals are cracked temporarily and form again when the vehicle has passed.

Is it possible to restrict the radiations to short distances?



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Post    Posted on: Sun Mar 05, 2006 4:09 pm
Just this moment I thought about another idea which might be combined with the previous one perahps.

There are materials sulfuric acid and sulfur acid react to - the result of the reaction doesn't react to them no more.

So it might be a solution perhaps to cover a vehicle that gets in touch with the venusian clouds by such a material, when the material has rected with the clouds etc. then the vehicle should be protected against the acids I suppose.

The material to react with the clouds wouldn't have no other task and unction than reacting and this way protecting.

Are there material which are truned by the reaction into another material that is solid and still covers the vehicle reliably?



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Post    Posted on: Sun Mar 05, 2006 7:05 pm
Saw this linked to in the newmars forums. Relevant to this thread. http://powerweb.grc.nasa.gov/pvsee/publications/venus/VenusColony_STAIF03.pdf

From the paper:
Quote:
On Venus, breathable air (i.e., oxygen/nitrogen mixture at roughly 21:78 mixture ratio) is a lifting gas. The lifting
power of breathable air in the carbon dioxide atmosphere of Venus is about half kg per cubic meter. Since air is a
lifting gas on Venus: the entire lifting envelope of an aerostat can be breathable gas, allowing the full volume of the
aerostat to be habitable volume.


and:
Quote:
While the atmosphere contains droplets of sulfuric acid, technology to avoid acid corrosion are well known, and
have been used by chemists for centuries.


and:
Quote:
At cloud-top level, Venus is the paradise planet. As shown in figure 2, at an altitude slightly
above fifty km above the surface, the atmospheric pressure is equal to the Earth surface atmospheric pressure of 1
Bar. At this level, the environment of Venus is benign.
· above the clouds, there is abundant solar energy
· temperature is in the habitable "liquid water" range of 0-50C
· atmosphere contains the primary volatile elements required for life (Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen,
and Sulfur)
· Gravity is 90% of the gravity at the surface of Earth.


Nice out-of-the-box idea, that.


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