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An SSTO as "God and Robert Heinlein intended".

Posted by: RGClark - Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:37 am
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An SSTO as "God and Robert Heinlein intended". 
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Post Re: An SSTO as "God and Robert Heinlein intended".   Posted on: Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:59 pm
I don't think Elon Musk cares about making a monopoly - he is in it to get cheap access to space. I think he would love it if there were other competitors - that would allow him to focus on his longer term goals, like populating space with humans.

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Post Re: An SSTO as "God and Robert Heinlein intended".   Posted on: Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:45 pm
Um, why would you want a single stage to orbit, if it is less efficient and more expensive? What's the point? You can make both stages of a staged rocket reusable.

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Post Re: An SSTO as "God and Robert Heinlein intended".   Posted on: Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:55 pm
Read thread title.


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Post Re: An SSTO as "God and Robert Heinlein intended".   Posted on: Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:10 pm
I think a single stage launch from rest speed, with no altitude help is silly.... Infrastructure on the ground or in the air adds up to more repeatiblity and lowers cost, If I can chuck your single stage vehicle from a ramp with an linear electric accelerator, you AND the next guy can go to space. Reducing the amout of fuel reduces the amount of tanks and cooling and so on.

A very heavy craft would not slow down as fast when it hits the atmosphere. A large sacrificial rod could make up the nose cone, and a weak field could repel the plasma generated away forming a supercavity.

a very long track could be made by tunneling for some of the track and having the rest up above ground on a gradually inclined mountian.

Power?
There are many renewables that could power such a facility..... but a geothermal system would be nice, as weather would not effect the output....

Now how can I fund a spacecraft launching maglev rail? Who would be the best engineer and team to get it done? Could the track be made with existing tech? Know any proposal writters that can work for....... gratitude?

A single stage ship that had support would be less life the space shuttle or rockets and more like a mix of a 747 and a bullet train.

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Post Re: An SSTO as "God and Robert Heinlein intended".   Posted on: Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:25 pm
Side note, thermionics supplied heat from nose cone rod and cold from expanding fuel or evaporating plasma etc could power the field generator for plasma repelling and supercavity formation. I have always wondered also if there was a atmospheric plasma from this process could be used as a reaction mass, but a very very very dense power supply would he needed.

If some one could design a reactor that was so hot without melting that it turned its input cooling air into plasma......... ufo anyone? With that much energy potential it could repel the reactor coolent (air plasma) and travel in any direction.....

I have heard of molten metal reactors. Magnesium is heated until it sheds electons freely then it leaves the reactor molten, when it cools it picks up the electrons again. a very high output... and the heat has to go somewhere... why not heat air into plasma instead of metal!

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Post Re: An SSTO as "God and Robert Heinlein intended".   Posted on: Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:19 am
Elon Musk to Address Mars Society Convention in Pasadena.
posted Jul 20, 2012 10:05 AM by Mars Society - PR [ updated Jul 21,
2012 1:13 PM ]
Quote:

The Mars Society is very pleased to announce that SpaceX Founder and
CEO Elon Musk will address the 15th Annual International Mars Society
Convention in Pasadena, California, on Saturday, August 4th during the
organization's evening banquet.

http://www.marssociety.org/home/press/a ... inpasadena

Bob Clark

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Single-stage-to-orbit was already shown possible 50 years ago with the Titan II first stage.
Contrary to popular belief, SSTO's in fact are actually easy. Just use the most efficient engines
and stages at the same time, and the result will automatically be SSTO.
Blog: http://exoscientist.blogspot.com


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Post Re: An SSTO as "God and Robert Heinlein intended".   Posted on: Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:59 am
Looking for volunteers? :wink:


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Post Re: An SSTO as "God and Robert Heinlein intended".   Posted on: Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:38 am
Sigma wrote:

I have heard of molten metal reactors. Magnesium is heated until it sheds electons freely then it leaves the reactor molten, when it cools it picks up the electrons again. a very high output... and the heat has to go somewhere... why not heat air into plasma instead of metal!


Efficiency. In order to do that, you would have to make a system so complex, that it wouldn't be worth it - and even then, you would hardly get a boost. The only use for an ion engine is in space, where even a small boost goes a long way. In space, there is functionally no drag, so boosts are cumulative.

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Post Re: An SSTO as "God and Robert Heinlein intended".   Posted on: Fri Aug 03, 2012 5:02 pm
RGClark wrote:
No, SSTO is not a four-letter word, though it is sometimes treated that way by those in the industry.
I've been arguing that SSTO's are actually easy because how to achieve them is perfectly obvious: use the most weight optimized stages and most Isp efficient engines at the same time, i.e., optimize both components of the rocket equation. But I've recently found it's even easier than that! It turns out you don't even need the engines to be of particularly high efficiency.
SpaceX is moving rapidly towards testing its Grasshopper scaled-down version of a reusable VTVL Falcon 9 first stage:

Reusable rocket prototype almost ready for first liftoff.
BY STEPHEN CLARK
SPACEFLIGHT NOW
Posted: July 9, 2012
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1207/10grasshopper/

SpaceX will be duplicating in this what the DC-X accomplished in the early 90's. The DC-X was a scaled down, low altitude test vehicle for a full-scale SSTO VTVL vehicle. So could the full-sized Falcon 9 first stage act as a VTVL SSTO?
SpaceX deserves kudos for achieving a highly weight optimized Falcon 9 first stage at a 20 to 1 mass ratio. However, the Merlin 1C engine has an Isp no better than the engines we had in the early sixties at 304 s, and the Merlin 1D is only slightly better on the Isp scale at 310 s. This is well below the highest efficiency kerosene engines (Russian) we have now whose Isp's are in the 330's. So I thought that closed the door on the Falcon 9 first stage being SSTO.
However, I was surprised when I did the calculation that because of the Merlin 1D's lower weight the Falcon 9 first stage could indeed be SSTO. I'll use the Falcon 9 specifications estimated by GW Johnson, a former rocket engineer, now math professor:

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2011
Reusability in Launch Rockets.
http://exrocketman.blogspot.com/2011/12 ... ckets.html

The first stage propellant load is given as 553,000 lbs, 250,000 kg, and the dry weight as 30,000 lbs, 13,600 kg...


I'll calculate now the payload for the first stage of the new version of
the Falcon 9, version 1.1. The Falcon Heavy will use this version's
first stage for its core stage and side boosters. SpaceX expects the
Falcon 9 v1.1 to be ready by the end of the year.

Elon Musk has said version 1.1 will be about 50% longer:

Q&A with SpaceX founder and chief designer Elon Musk.
BY STEPHEN CLARK
SPACEFLIGHT NOW
Posted: May 18, 2012
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/003/120518musk/

I'll assume this is coming from 50% larger tanks. This puts the
propellant load now at 375,000 kg. Interestingly SpaceX says the side
boosters on the Falcon Heavy will have a 30 to 1 mass ratio. This
improvement is probably coming from the fact it is using the lighter
Merlin 1D engines, and because scaling up a rocket actually improves
your mass ratio, and also not having to support the weight of an upper
stage and heavy payload means it can be made lighter.

So I'll assume for this SSTO version of the Falcon 9 v1.1 the mass
ratio is 30 to 1, which makes the dry mass 13 mT.

To estimate the payload I'll use the payload estimation program of
Dr. John Schilling:

Launch Vehicle Performance Calculator.
http://www.silverbirdastronautics.com/LVperform.html

It actually gives a range of likely values of the payload. But I've found
the midpoint of the range it specifies is a reasonably accurate estimate
to the actual payload for known rockets.

Input the vacuum values for the thrust in kilonewtons and Isp in
seconds. The program takes into account the sea level loss. SpaceX
gives the Merlin 1D vacuum thrust as 161,000 lbs and vacuum Isp
as 311 s:

FALCON 9 OVERVIEW.
http://www.spacex.com/falcon9.php

For the 9 Merlins this is a thrust of 9*161,000lb*4.46N/lb = 6,460
kN. Use the default altitude of 185 km and select the Cape Canaveral
launch site, with a 28.5 degree orbital inclination to match the
Cape's latitude.

Input the dry mass of 13,000 kg and propellant mass of 375,000 kg.
The other options I selected are indicated here:

Image

Then it gives an estimated 7,564 kg payload mass:

===================================================
Launch Vehicle: User-Defined Launch Vehicle
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral / KSC
Destination Orbit: 185 x 185 km, 28 deg
Estimated Payload: 7564 kg
95% Confidence Interval: 3766 - 12191 kg
===================================================

This may be enough to launch the Dragon capsule, depending on the mas
of the Launch Abort System (LAS).


Bob Clark

_________________
Single-stage-to-orbit was already shown possible 50 years ago with the Titan II first stage.
Contrary to popular belief, SSTO's in fact are actually easy. Just use the most efficient engines
and stages at the same time, and the result will automatically be SSTO.
Blog: http://exoscientist.blogspot.com


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Post Re: An SSTO as "God and Robert Heinlein intended".   Posted on: Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:00 pm
http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/rocketaday.html

I was reading this little "rant" from 1993 and I was thinking of combining this approach and an SSTO ranted about in here with an orbital re-processing facility.

We mass produce SSTOs, we launch them to a standard LEO orbit. We could have many depending on the amount of launch facilities we could have world wide.

Then when the rocket reaches the target and the payload is deployed for some spacetugs to move about, it is disassembled and reprocessed into either component parts or raw materials.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/233/1

I read that article as well and it talks about the other parts of launch costs and how reducing merely the cost of building a rocket will not necessarily be enough to drastically reduce launch costs.

I probably am wrong but it seems nobody went for the "mass produce the hell out of rockets capable of orbital payloads" solution because everybody is waiting for the market to pick up and nobody is brave enough to invest a couple of hundred million dollars and create the product before anybody actually wants to buy it.

Now if we do all of this open source, the design of the rocket, the manufacturing of rockets, the design of the space recycle and storage facility and the process to manufacture such a thing, we might be able to kickstart a boom in the industry that could get us to whereever we want to go.

Yes there are legal issues with open source technology development especially if it involves the US and technology with possible military use, but there are other countries out there that could be involved.

Not to mention that if this proposal could actually work, and the estimation of a half a billion to a billion dollar of cost to get the project going is correct, then indeed an alliance of smaller nations could easily fork out the necessary funding to get the project started.

Heck we even could crowdfund part or the whole thing as long as we could get enough space enthusiasts together to support it. We are extremely dividied into where we should go and what we should do once we are in space, but we have one common issue and that is getting up there without needing to sell our kidneys, livers, hearts, and lungs on the black market.

1 million people paying 1 or 2 dollars a day could potentially fund a project like this without braking their wallets and the potential end result would be an industry that could get every single one of them into orbit within a couple of decades tops.

Though I guess convincing them to spend their money on this would be extremely hard if not impossible, especially if they have the level of scepticism like JamesG has here. :P

Anyway enough pipe dreams.

I was wondering what platforms are out there for open design projects. Hardware and software. I wonder what our current capabilities are in terms of trying to start up and run a project like this in terms of software available on the net.

The overall thing would have to be broken down into tiny fragments of problem snipetts and then presented for the "crowd" to solve. Contractors or volunteers either way I am wondering how projects like this are broken down and managed at the moment.

I don't want to reinvent the wheel so I am looking for tools out there that are already available. I am already aware of the development of
https://opendesignengine.net/ are there any other ones like it?

Any other suggestions or objections to the "mass produce the hell out of rockets and just keep launching them day and night" solution to the cost problems.

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Post Re: An SSTO as "God and Robert Heinlein intended".   Posted on: Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:12 pm
box wrote:
Though I guess convincing them to spend their money on this would be extremely hard if not impossible, especially if they have the level of scepticism like JamesG has here.


Pragmatic. Were I skeptical, I wouldn't even bother to be/post here.

The non-enthusist, which is the vast majority of the population, and especially the people with the resources necessary (the investors, government, and large corporations) are skeptical and no degree of exuberant optimism will change that. You have to approach this realistically, even cynically and address every potential criticism, or problem directly if you want any traction.


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Post Re: An SSTO as "God and Robert Heinlein intended".   Posted on: Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:15 pm
Actually, I think cynicism is a bad thing, no matter what the situation. The important thing is, even if you expend tons of effort for only the tiniest amount of progress toward your goal, if that goal is important to you, it was worth it. If you are looking for an easy path towards a goal, you will always be sad. But if you care more about living in the promotion of things that you care about, then their actual achievement, you will be a happy person, whether or not you live to see the success of your goals.

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Post Re: An SSTO as "God and Robert Heinlein intended".   Posted on: Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:35 am
JamesG wrote:
box wrote:
Though I guess convincing them to spend their money on this would be extremely hard if not impossible, especially if they have the level of scepticism like JamesG has here.


Pragmatic. Were I skeptical, I wouldn't even bother to be/post here.

The non-enthusist, which is the vast majority of the population, and especially the people with the resources necessary (the investors, government, and large corporations) are skeptical and no degree of exuberant optimism will change that. You have to approach this realistically, even cynically and address every potential criticism, or problem directly if you want any traction.

Yeah, the only way to change the opinion of the non-enthusiast and skeptics is with actual results.

I am mostly trying fish for some other people with similar ideas or goals to team up with. Also hoping for some random input from anyone passing by.

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Post Re: An SSTO as "God and Robert Heinlein intended".   Posted on: Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:41 am
SuperShuki wrote:
Actually, I think cynicism is a bad thing, no matter what the situation. The important thing is, even if you expend tons of effort for only the tiniest amount of progress toward your goal, if that goal is important to you, it was worth it. If you are looking for an easy path towards a goal, you will always be sad. But if you care more about living in the promotion of things that you care about, then their actual achievement, you will be a happy person, whether or not you live to see the success of your goals.

It is mostly a kind of "hobby" for me. I thought I could do something fun with my spare time. Trying to tie all my interests into a bundle and do something constructive.

Thanks for the encouraging words.

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Post Re: An SSTO as "God and Robert Heinlein intended".   Posted on: Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:41 pm
RGClark wrote:
Elon Musk to Address Mars Society Convention in Pasadena.
posted Jul 20, 2012 10:05 AM by Mars Society - PR [ updated Jul 21,
2012 1:13 PM ]
Quote:

The Mars Society is very pleased to announce that SpaceX Founder and
CEO Elon Musk will address the 15th Annual International Mars Society
Convention in Pasadena, California, on Saturday, August 4th during the
organization's evening banquet.

http://www.marssociety.org/home/press/a ... inpasadena

Bob Clark


Elon Musk "Mars Pioneer Award" Acceptance Speech - 15th Annual International Mars Society Convention.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... K0kTcJFnVk



Bob Clark

_________________
Single-stage-to-orbit was already shown possible 50 years ago with the Titan II first stage.
Contrary to popular belief, SSTO's in fact are actually easy. Just use the most efficient engines
and stages at the same time, and the result will automatically be SSTO.
Blog: http://exoscientist.blogspot.com


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