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New Team - Looking For Assistance - Rocket Sailplane Concept

Posted by: rocketsail - Mon Mar 29, 2004 10:30 pm
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New Team - Looking For Assistance - Rocket Sailplane Concept 
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Post New Team - Looking For Assistance - Rocket Sailplane Concept   Posted on: Mon Mar 29, 2004 10:30 pm
Sound crazy? Too late to win? "Never give up. Never Surrender!"

Dear Reader,

I am looking for assistance in several categories to establish a new X-Prize entry with the following design concept: rocket sailplane. I know it is very late to enter, but I have faith in the design as viable - to live beyond the award.

What I am looking for is assistance in several categories: potential investors, fabrication technicians and aerospace engineers, and most importantly - CAD software.

Personally, I have a background in systems engineering .. I have a great love and enthusiasm for sustainable technological growth - of which, the X-Prize entries represent .. I am already a general member of the X-Prize foundation, but need to participate more actively in a project..

..This is my way - and could be yours. Write to me at -@i.am if you're interested .. Please, only serious inquiries .. Thank you for your attention.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:22 pm
Your location is all important.

Which country would the team be registered in?

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Post    Posted on: Tue Mar 30, 2004 8:59 pm
Rocket sailplane - isn't that essentially like Space Ship 1? Please elaborate on your design a bit and how you are going to get something flying from nothing in 9 months to win the prize.


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Post addressing concerns so far   Posted on: Tue Mar 30, 2004 10:50 pm
Location: USA, more specifically would depend on investors and engineers, yes the design is similar to SS1 - but different enough to warrant a seperate entry (elaborations below), and I believe that most of the teams are not only concerned with winning the prize - but providing platforms for future development/capacity in space-tourism, so winning the prize becomes almost secondary.

Design elaboration: I envision a tow/tug to high altitude, the wingspan will be configurable - based on requirements of portion of flight-plan, of course during high-speed flight, as under rocket power, I envision the wings drawn back with control surfaces near the tail, then much later, in glide/approach, the configuration much more like a traditional sailplane. Again, I encourage any serious inquiry into the project: aerospace engineers, fabrication technicians, investors, and CAD software suppliers to reply -@i.am


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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 31, 2004 6:15 am
The USA will definitely prohibit an sort of fast development. Paper work is a killer.

Tow/tug is simply the wrong way to go long term near as I can pick. Its really uncool. And the X Prize is all about cool.

I don't think its too late, If yer a hardcore engineer with ample funds and are will to die in the process. Rockets with billions in development still explode a lot.

Movable wing surfaces are really heavy. If the thing launches from high enough the wings can stay put. But they will need to be really strong to survive 4g loadings at their tips. Wings on rockets nearly universally need to be stubby triangles.

If you want to compete in future for the industry then go for it. Requirements are:

- Entreprenurship
- Engineering - Design
- Manufactuirng experience
- Law, commercial and aviation
- Marketing. Monster amounts of marketing.
- Titanium Carbide Testicles
- Cash
- Friends in high places
- A will to die
- A will to really live.

I think at this stage or you can really build is a big dumb booster and pray you don't die in the first two launches. Hope that helps. God's speed.

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Post Looking For More Objective/Concrete Assistance..   Posted on: Thu Apr 01, 2004 12:14 am
..like listed above.. I used to be a member of 'Project Icepick' - a group of armchair philosophers who argued about details of how we should go to Europa .. I am not knocking armchair philosophers - just - I don't want to waste my own time - doing that .. It's fun to discuss and 'build castles in the sky' - the way the dreamers on other BB pages discuss anti-gravity and the like, but for me - again - it's a waste of time .. I'd much rather be taking objective steps toward actually living and working in the sky..

I appreciate the attention my proposal has garnered so far, but the suggestions remind me of my time spent in 'Project Icepick' .. If the US government will prohibit a quick development and launch, then we will launch elsewhere - it's as simple as that. If towing is 'uncool' then so is hang-gliding - which is not - which I do - which shows I have Iridium Cojones (item 6 on the list above). Towing can be cool if it is feasible and cheap. Towing IS cool. And the X-Prize is not just about being 'sexy' - it is about cheap feasible technology that will get humans into space.

'Movable wing surfaces are really heavy' - yea - if you MAKE them heavy .. If I was an engineer with ample funding, I wouldn't be pleading for support here .. I would like to make a simulation for people to see my rocket-sailplane vision of an X-Prize entry, but lack the software to even do that. Perhaps people should be donating some CAD software to the project instead of 'armchair criticism'..

Lets deal with the items above in the list one by one: entrepenurship check, engineering - design - waiting for CAD software donation or investor support, manufacturing experience - again - if I had that - I wouldn't be asking for fabrication technicians, law commercial and aviation - if I could afford to hire a legal team - I wouldn't need to be asking for support here, marketing - again - ditto, titanium carbide testicles - already addressed, cash - ditto, friends in high place - ditto, a will to die - no - that's rediculous, and a will to live - of course.

Again, these kinds of comments just waste my time and readership for 'my cause' .. Perhaps that was the intent - to dismiss and berate and waste reader's time .. The tone of the comment above seems friendly enough, but I question the real intent .. I am sorry to come off so 'heavy handed' in my response, but please - if you want to sabotage my attempt - even before it has begun - just be honest and say so..

Armchair philosophers better spend their time attacking anti-gravity and the like..


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Post    Posted on: Thu Apr 01, 2004 6:15 am
Hoi, I was just checking that you knew what you were getting into. You have definitely reached the place where you are prepared to risk everything because you realise how lame the alternatives are.

The fact that you are asking for these things here is my main concern. The less of these where you "know someone who knows someone who does this all day" the more capital you need to secure.

The elegance and marketability of the design directly influences how easily you can capture V.C. Mind you this is the strong point of building in the U.S.A. I mean people give money to zogging SETI. The other thing is you are competeing with at least 27 other teams for exactly the same market.

I was just going through the list of gotchas in case you had missed any. However you seem to know what you need. I haven't got anything else to donate other than what I have gleaned from research.

I was in fact trying to encourage you. If I was really really trying to encourage you I would have just told you outright it was impossible. Most engineers find that sort of thing stops them sleeping until they have succeeded. Its totally within the capability of a motivated person, but ya gotta move.

Keep me posted.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Apr 01, 2004 11:48 am
Your idea sounds just like the X-price entrie form Kelly Space & Technology.

http://www.xprize.org/teams/kelly.html
http://www.kellyspace.com/
Image
The lifting body will be towed to launch altitude behind another aircraft, and the rockets will be ignited. The craft will return to the landing site and make an unpowered, horizontal landing.


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Post What are you bringing to the deal?   Posted on: Thu Apr 01, 2004 4:40 pm
Dear Rocketsail,

What are you bringing to this deal? It sounds like you are in need of all the things that are hard to get. It appears that the only thing you are bringing to the deal is an idea. To get anyone to even think about helping you you'll need to convince them that your idea has extreme potential -- more than the other teams already competing. Otherwise, what's the point? And to convince anyone serious, you'll need hard facts, calculations, etc.

Good luck -- really.
Lepton


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Post Excellent Posts   Posted on: Fri Apr 02, 2004 12:47 am
Now these are more like it! :D I appreciate idiom's tone and level of support. Encouragement is always necessary, no matter what stage a project is in, and most needed - at the beginning .. As to why I am requesting assistance here? Eh .. I don't really have any other place to ask for assistance .. I have several websites, but they are about non-profit cooperative ventures (see www.symbioticsystems.org for example) - not really the place to ask for investors/engineers to join in a highly speculative and admittedly dangerous area .. You're completely right about concept and appeal - one reason Space Ship One is so successful is because it is 'sexy' - it is novel and slick and holds great appeal to people like me (entrepenurial/innovative minds) .. I even offered support for their X-Prize entry - but was rejected on two fronts - one strong reason to make my own entry .. Anyways, again, I appreciate the moral support - I need all I can get .. To address the other comments: a sailplane is a glider, but with very long wings - my vision for Rocket Sailplane is similar - it looks like a sailplane (glider), but when under rocket power - pulls these wings back with control surfaces near the tail. At first I saw need for directional thrust, but again, control surfaces near the tail should do the trick. Of course, I cannot know this unless I simulate the craft under various configurations (again, the need for CAD software). What do I have to offer? A very Very good question. I have a systems engineering background from Michigan State. Most of my work experiences have been in technical maintenance, but I believe my vision, spirit, and skill set - meet the requirements for this project - as project leader. Again, I am looking for aerospace engineers, fabrication technicians, and investors to support this project. It is not non-profit (as my other ventures are) .. In that sense, I suppose I am looking for investors first and foremost .. But as stated above, CAD / simulation software 'couldn't hurt' either at this stage .. Serious inquiries please write to me at the email address above..


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Post Re: Excellent Posts   Posted on: Sun Apr 04, 2004 9:52 pm
rocketsail wrote:
What do I have to offer? A very Very good question. I have a systems engineering background from Michigan State. Most of my work experiences have been in technical maintenance, but I believe my vision, spirit, and skill set - meet the requirements for this project - as project leader. Again, I am looking for aerospace engineers, fabrication technicians, and investors to support this project. It is not non-profit (as my other ventures are) .. In that sense, I suppose I am looking for investors first and foremost .. But as stated above, CAD / simulation software 'couldn't hurt' either at this stage .. Serious inquiries please write to me at the email address above..


Okay. Let's try this one again. An aerospace engineer fresh out of uni gets $60kUS a year. Not sure about your "fabrication technicians" (although some machinists get over $100US per hour). So in order to get anyone remotely interested, you have to either pay them or do a whole lot better job of convincing them than you have so far. Investors don't grow on trees either. And no offense or nothing, but if you actually have an engineering degree, you know how to use CAD (unless you cheated to pass the course) and likely have/have access to a copy. You might contact Laminar Research for the simulator, but it'll cost you rather dearly.

In summary, you have a slightly novel idea, and nine months in which to complete it -- starting from scratch. If NASA decided to get off its six, ditch everything, and work on such a project alone, it *might* be able to pull it off, but that's still something of a crapshoot.

If I were you, I'd start doing some fast talking to convince this crowd that you're not some kind of crackpot who's just in this for whatever little publicity it provides.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Apr 05, 2004 9:17 am
Nasa is precisely the wrong company to ask. Planning on the budget alone would chew up all of your nine months. Skunk works without oversight might pull it off.

It would only really be possible for a group of experienced engineers working voluntarily in cuba or somewheres.

See in the US everybody knows what they are worth. It will cost $100 to get a space grade welder to answer the phone.

Its not your idea that will win through, it will be an ability to network and motivate people for an idea.

Me, I am a crackpot. You need to be too if you really intend to put yourself on a rocket built by guys who didn't even get to bid. You guys get "scrap heap challenge" cuz thats what this is going to look like. not even monster garage is comparable. This will be the components you can beg, borrow or 'liberate' bandaged together without enough time to test half of it.

If your experience in systems engineering is traditional then it may actually hinder your work because your experience will be in methodical polish. Not in scrapping enough funds together to bribe inspectors.

On the other hand if a project is going to come together at al it has to come together in six months. Other wise enthusiasim wanes and the money runs out cuz people have to eat and the rent has to be paid.

You might pass up cad entirely and go for scale models. or leave it entirely untested and trust you engineering judgment and that of your mates to get you home alive.

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Post You Guys Are Both Right..   Posted on: Mon Apr 05, 2004 4:30 pm
..in a sense .. How can I motivate people other than money? I sincerely doubt I can group all the application-rejections and sideliners looking for a cause .. My concept is elegant and do-able, but I am far from being the best speaker and motivator .. My own mother called me 'my little charlatan' and someone who was supposed to be my friend called me 'crazy and confused' .. I never was allowed to finish the systems degree at State (because of bad grades as an undergraduate) .. But I will not be beaten until I am dead. :twisted: I sincerely don't think I can get investors like Paul Allen who donated more than $10 million to Composite (and they will probably win because they want to win more than anything). Think about that. They want to win more than anything. They're willing to spend more than $10 million to win. What's important to me? Creating cheap/feasible/safe technology to get us into space. Because it is our Destiny. If I have to beg, then I will beg. I am asking for all those X-Prize application-rejections and motivated sideliners to follow this cause. Not to compete with designs - it is way past that point. But to join because we believe in the cause - together .. We can continue to fight amongst ourselves and degrade and dismiss each other .. Or we can join together to beat greed with practicality and vision. Do I care if we win the X-Prize or not? It would be nice, icing on the cake, but I care more about the objectives of the Prize - which is cheap/feasible/safe technology to get us to the stars (a step anyways) .. Those that believe in this cause now have a website: please visit www.sailplanesam.us for updates .. If I could lead, I would be a leader, if I could inspire - I would .. But I am a simple man with a gigantic vision - that I will not keep inside or subdue - no matter what :twisted:


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Post    Posted on: Tue Apr 06, 2004 4:57 pm
idiom wrote:
Nasa is precisely the wrong company to ask. Planning on the budget alone would chew up all of your nine months. Skunk works without oversight might pull it off.


I meant if they were dropped into 1969 gear. Otherwise, you're right. And Skunk Works is a good suggestion.

I like your thinking, idiom -- it's pretty close to my own.

rocketsail wrote:
<snip>


Hrm. You sound like you should either be committed to the closest asylum or hailed as the traditional Heinleinian hero. But you've got me interested enough to ask for one thing:

Outline, in *FULL* detail -- and preferably with pictures -- the design you want to enter into the X-Prize competition.

[rant]Now, keep in mind that I'm partial to fully integrated spaceplane designs as opposed to the two-piece designs like Scaled Composites and vertical-launch rockets like most of the others. So I humbly suggest that a spaceplane -- albeit slightly inefficient -- is the best way to go.[/rant]

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Post Scaled Composites Will Win X-Prize   Posted on: Fri Apr 09, 2004 3:33 am
I will bet my life savings on it (or should I say - my life-debt) .. This will happen for several reasons: they have the financing to win, they have jumped thru the govt hoops (FAA app and assoc conditions: "The company also had to demonstrate that it was adequately insured for a launch and that it met environmental standards, Price said." (from http://www.xprize.org/press/release_051.html )), and they have the public's attention. There are other reasons (favored by conspiracy theorists), but that is enough for this discussion .. When I first found out about the X-Prize, and surveyed the competing teams, I was interested in Discraft, but all attempts to get team updates failed - as mentioned by another BB-logger "they could use some PR improvements" .. Another team recently disappeared (not Discraft) - was this another fly-by-night company? I hope not .. I wouldn't want the image of X-Prize tarnished by such scams .. There is one more quote from the page above I need to copy here: "The FAA is considering two other applications, Price said. One is an X Prize contestant." What is that about??? There are many other teams in the US! Either they haven't applied yet for FAA approval or they intend never to apply .. In regards to my sailplane concept, I would have to launch in international airspace - obviously. I can't afford CAD software - much less liability insurance to satisfy the FAA .. So I am doing things by hand - with pencil and paper .. At some point I will scan some designs onto the website: www.sailplanesam.us, but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you .. Typically, I have had remarks like above - come my way - and you learn to take them with a sufficiently large block of salt .. I don't respond to threats/coersions very well - all good things in good time .. I have pretty much given up on the idea of winning the X-Prize, but I have not given up on promoting cheap/feasible/safe space-transportation - like my rocket-sailplane concept .. Stay tuned for future developments .. :roll:


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