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QuickReach (CXV)

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:28 pm
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QuickReach (CXV) 
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Post    Posted on: Fri Sep 22, 2006 11:45 am
In between Aur Launch LLC have published detailed data about the results of their drop tests on the homepage.

On the last page fo their .pdf "Gravity Air Launching of Earth-To-Orbit Space Vehicles" they say that two of three factors found in the drop test via Scaled Composites' Proteus were relatively easy to fix while the third required extensive CFD and a wind tunnel test.

They finally conclude that the tests have shown that their method works as intended.

There are several technical papers under www.airlaunchllc.com/TechPapers.html# - as far as I can say it the first two or three of them seem to be very interesting for engineers. The oldest of those three obviously have been written prior to the recent three test drops of this year.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 09, 2006 5:35 pm
Oh, this is getting confusing! Now there are two companies both launching rockets from airplanes? (Besides Scaled!)

I was under the impression that the CXV was t\Space's idea for launching humans into orbit, and they ran this as their COTS entry. Is that right? And does the QuickReach have anything to do with manned launch, or is it satellite only?

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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 10, 2006 5:22 am
Airlaunch LLC are one of the companies making up Transformational Space (T/Space).

They supply the QuickReach 2 rockets, a larger version of their QuickReach rocket for the DARPA Falcon project. (Not to be confused with the SpaceX Falcon 1, 5 & 9 rockets).

Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites is also a partner in T/Space, making the carrier VLA and the CXV capsule.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 10, 2006 7:05 am
Hello, Solo,

additionally to what WannabespaceCadet said t/Space was competing to Lockheed Martin, the team Northrop-Grumman/Boeing and five other companies to be selected as the developer, constructor and producer of the CEV.

They cancelled their participation in that competition due to the amount of paperwork NASA was forcing those teams to do - and Griffin cancelled that competition and replaced it by a different approach to accelerated the process of getting a CEV.

For this reason t/Space decided very early to compete in other competitions of NASA - like COTS. They also explicitly said that they are going for private investors and private funds if they aren't selected by NASA - but will not cancel the developement of the CXV and the QuickReach 2.

It's correct that there might be two air launching companies/teams in the future because Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic have said that they will develop an orbital SS3 if SS2 is a success.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Nov 06, 2006 12:35 pm
Air launch LLC did a successfull payload separation test in October at NASA's facilities in Wallops.

This obviously was the fifth of in total six milestones of phase 2B.

Quote:
All pyrotechnic sequences and mechanical actions operated properly.


Interesting is that they are doing three tests per day within three days in one row - according to their website. This seems to mean to me that they are testing if the 24 hour-notice can be met without failures of QuickReach.

This all together is looking like a significant progress and as they say there will be the Incremental Critial Design Review this month.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:33 am
NASA in between has decided to assist t/Space obviously according to the article "NASA Signs Support Agreements With Two Private Spaceflight Firms" ( www.space.com/news/070201_nasa_spaceact.html ).

The article says that
Quote:
The U.S. space agency signed Space Act agreements with Chicago-based PlanetSpace Inc. and Reston, Virginia’s Transformational Space Corp. (t/Space), and will provide the two firms with requirements and specifications for crew and cargo flights to the International Space Station (ISS).
.

The agreement does NOT include funds but
Quote:
though the space agency will recognize each firm’s progress during vehicle development
.

From the following quote it seems that NASA in principle did want to fund t/Space and PlanetSpace as well if they had had more COTS-money than available:

[quote]Alan Lindenmoyer, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office at the Johnson Space Center, said NASA’s goal is to help facilitate access to low-Earth orbit. The new Space Act agreements address just two of the some 21 proposals NASA received from private firms during the COTS competition.

[b]“There were some excellent ideas there,â€


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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 28, 2007 9:35 am
According to the recent Air Launch LLC press release ( www.airlaunchllc.com/News.htm ) QuickReach seems to have past the Incremental Critical Design Review successfully.

So up to now no delay I remember at present.

There are remaining engine firings that will be complete by the end of the next month.

In particular it is said in the release that the safety tasks are completed satisfyingly.

Then only two phases are left that are called 2C and 2D. Phase 2C obviously concenrs an onboard propellant conditioning system.



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Post    Posted on: Sat Apr 07, 2007 8:37 am
After several months with mo news from Air Launch LLC now there are new news short after the recnet one.

Under www.airlaunchllc.com/News.htm they are reporting that they in between have done two successful tests of the engine of the second stage between middle and end of March.

In particular they say that
Quote:
the engine successfully transitioned from liquid oxygen to gaseous oxygen. This transition has now been accomplished on the VTS as well as on the Horizontal Test Stand (HTS) used in earlier tests.


Full duration seems to be 230 seconds which will be done this month yet after the recent test lsted 123 seconds.

To me that's looking to be fast progress towards milestones and good pace.

...



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Post    Posted on: Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:49 am
In their latest press release Air Luanch LLC say that
Quote:
The HMX LOX-Propane engine performed as expected, testing the design of the injector with integral main propellant valve and demonstrating much lower than expected erosion rates on the ablative chamber.


Sounds as if they have built an ablative chamber proving to be better than they thought. It would be interesting if they secretly might start to be thinking towards future reusability.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:12 pm
The most interesting recent news from Airlaunch LLC from my point of view is [quote]“Phase 2C enables us to show the utility of our system to other vehicle applications, in addition to our QuickReachâ„¢ small launch vehicle,â€


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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:38 pm
On Wednesday no news were published on the homepage of Air Launch LLC - but two documents telling news.

The shorter one "Results of QuickReachâ„¢ Small Launch Vehicle Propulsion
Testing and Next Steps to Demonstration Flights
Presented to:
2008 Utah State Small Satellite Conference
SSC08-IX-5" ( www.airlaunchllc.com/# ), called "Propulsion Progress
(Utah State presentation)" in the list and dating from 13th of August 2008, says on page 3 that
Quote:
25 tests on HTS-2 434.7 seconds
have been done up to the date of that document and that around 20 more will be done yet.

According to page the state is as follows:

Quote:
Completed first test series on HTS-2 with 2nd stage engine; data analysis in process

Repeatability tests on HTS-2 have begun; final test report and data set to be delivered at the conclusion

Integrated 2nd Stage testing on VTS will follow HTS tests this fall

Planning Phase 2D content, leading to earliest flight test demonstration


So they seem to be well in their schedule up to now and really seem to become a relevant competitor for SpaceX particularly of the recent failure of the Falcon 1. It will be interesting to what degree the first test flight will be a success or a failure. Both the QuickReach and the Falcon 1 will carry payloads within the same range of weights.

The second document is a bit longer - not in pages but in text - , titled "Results of QuickReachâ„¢ Small Launch Vehicle Propulsion
Testing and Next Steps to Demonstration Flights" ( www.airlaunchllc.com/# ), called "Utah State Conference Paper" in the list - but it is not dated.

Page three of that document explains the VaPak technology a bit more detailed than I personally have been used previously and thus is interesting to me.

On page five they tell
Quote:
Results of Phase 2C Tests to Date
AirLaunch has conducted four hot-fire tests and several cold-flow tests on the HTS to date in Phase 2C. Initial tests were aimed at shaking down the new facility and data acquisition system, as well as verifying operation of the water cooled chamber (see next page). Results indicate excellent durability for the updated test article and data acquisition has been significantly improved over 2B activities. Engine performance characterization tests are expected to be conducted over the summer.


According to page seven
Quote:
The upgraded VTS hardware is now in place. Hot fire tests on the VTS with the new 2nd stage test article
configuration are anticipated to commence in late summer/early fall, following the HTS test series.


More interesting may be the following issues on that page: [quote]Flight Applications
As part of Phase 2C, AirLaunch is evaluating various applications of AirLaunch’s propulsion technology and vehicle configurations. For example, at the end of Phase 2C, the company will have a wellcharacterized and tested, restartable second stage liquid engine, with performance of ~25,000 pounds thrust. Such an engine may be applied as an upper stage for other launch systems

In addition, the company is exploring other aircraft options in addition to the C-17. AirLaunch received its Gravity Air Launch (GAL) patent on March 4, 2008. This system is compatible with other cargo aircraft such as the C-5 and An-124. The company’s “Trapeze Lanyardâ€


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