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Interorbital - "Neptune" manned ORBITAL launcher

Posted by: Stellvia - Fri Jul 09, 2004 8:35 pm
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Interorbital - "Neptune" manned ORBITAL launcher 
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Post Interorbital - "Neptune" manned ORBITAL launcher   Posted on: Fri Jul 09, 2004 8:35 pm
Hi folks

I'm a little puzzled as to why no-one's mentioned this yet. Is it old news or something?

http://www.interorbital.com/Neptune%20Page_1.htm

Interorbital apparently have detailed plans for a two-stage sea-launched rocket with a payload of 9,000 pounds to 250-mile orbit. It has a modular design with an EIGHT-person ballistic capsule, and the second stage propellant tankage stays in orbit and serves as a habitation module. Looks like they're going for both the space tourism market, and NASA's Constellation requirements for interplanetary vehicles.

A few random thoughts:-

Their web designer should be shot. Repeatedly. Even now, Jakob Nielsen is storming towards their corporate headquarters bearing a nail-studded Clue Stick :lol:

How's the dual-purpose second stage going to work? Can you actually build something which is cryogenic tankage *and* habitable volume? ISTR that it was decided that doing such things with the Shuttle ET was a nice idea in theory, but it wouldn't actually work...

First stage oxidiser: isn't white fuming nitric acid in close proximity to tropical seawater an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen?

OK, so the "race to orbit" now looks something like this:-

Armadillo: Thinking about it.
Rutan: "Sooner than you think" ;)
Interorbital: Test flights in 2006.... allegedly.

Anyone else? ;)


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jul 09, 2004 8:57 pm
I'll believe it when I see it...

And you are right - that site is atrocious!

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Post Re: Interorbital - "Neptune" manned ORBITAL launch   Posted on: Sun Jul 11, 2004 3:32 am
Stellvia wrote:
How's the dual-purpose second stage going to work? Can you actually build something which is cryogenic tankage *and* habitable volume? ISTR that it was decided that doing such things with the Shuttle ET was a nice idea in theory, but it wouldn't actually work...


Well, cryogenic/room temperature climate control isn't an issue in thier system, WFNA and kerosene are stored at comfortable room temperature. However, you do run into some other problems, such as the toxicity of kerosene and corosiveness of nitric acid. As John Carmack said in the Armadillo thread, hydrogen peroxide only leaves a little white spot on your hand that goes away in half an hour, compared to the permenent scar a little nitric acid will give you. Imagine what happens when someone heads into an oxidizer tank that's not completely free of acid... :!:

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Last edited by Senior Von Braun on Mon Jul 12, 2004 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Jul 11, 2004 6:17 am
According to their webpage, first stage is WFNA/hydrocarbon, second ("orbiter") stage is LOX/liquified natural gas, so yes it is at least partially cryogenic.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jul 12, 2004 7:39 pm
Oops. Well, then they would face the problem of living inside a tank made for both room and cryogenic temperatures. Also, they claim that LOX and methane are hypergolic in their ignition system, how does that work? They have a long way to go before they're making the 500,000 lb engines they'll need for the Neptune's first stage. Also, in order to get to the tank, the crew/passengers would have to go through the heat shield. Whoops.

I don't mean to discourage innovation, and maybe their ideas are good and useful. For now, though, I agree with Lars; I'll believe it when I see it.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jul 12, 2004 8:08 pm
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Also, in order to get to the tank, the crew/passengers would have to go through the heat shield. Whoops.

Having a hatch in the heat-shield is not unprecedented - American & Soviet designs featured this (Gemini-B, TKS), although the Soviet one was the only one that actually flew (unmanned). If the hatch is designed properly, the heat-shield material will expand during re-entry and seal up the seam. Clearly a lot of testing would have to be done for such a design, though, and it would definately add another element of risk.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jul 12, 2004 10:51 pm
I think its just InterOrbital's way of bailing on the X-Prize attempt. They can always come up with something else for the X-Cup, but it is nice to dream big.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 17, 2004 11:01 am
And they don't really mention the X-Prize at all, only their satellite launcher and this orbital manned spacecraft. Did they drop out of the contest in order to go for orbit right away instead?


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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 17, 2004 11:44 am
They are or were competing by the upper stage Solaris X.

At www.xprizenews.org on first of July has been reported that Solaris X "has .. been switched over" to the configuration as upper stage. Earlier there has been a report of their intention to launch Solaris X first in September 2004.

On Interorbitals websites I didn't find any word saying that they left the competition - but their earlier decision to compete is mentioned twice: by themseöves and by listing the media reporting of their activities.

What might "has .. been switched over" really mean?



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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 17, 2004 5:08 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
They are or were competing by the upper stage Solaris X.

At www.xprizenews.com/org on first of July has been reported that Solaris X "has .. been switched over" to the configuration as upper stage. Earlier there has been a report of their intention to launch Solaris X first in September 2004.

On Interorbitals websites I didn't find any word saying that they left the competition - but their earlier decision to compete is mentioned twice: by themseöves and by listing the media reporting of their activities.

What might "has .. been switched over" really mean?


i don't know the answer to your question, but you win the prize for funniest messed up link ever, lol. i think that means they know they don't stand a chance for the xprize, so now they're focusing solely on orbital operations.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 18, 2004 2:59 pm
Hope they can find the funds to keep on with their work. They really have some great designs!


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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 18, 2004 7:38 pm
Their design for the Solaris was actually the upper stage of an orbital rocket that they have been working on for years... I believe that "switched over" means that the Solaris has once again become part of their orbital project, but I'm not completely sure. I am in the process of trying to get some information out of the President of the company, I'll let everyone know if anything comes of it.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 18, 2004 10:51 pm
TerraMrs wrote:
i don't know the answer to your question, but you win the prize for funniest messed up link ever, lol.


I didn't know there was a prize for funniest messed up link ever. I think I've seen better!

And I like Interorbital's website. It looks like a magazine, and I appreciate a page that holds still while I'm trying to read it!

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Post    Posted on: Thu Aug 19, 2004 11:53 pm
desertbadger wrote:
TerraMrs wrote:
i don't know the answer to your question, but you win the prize for funniest messed up link ever, lol.


I didn't know there was a prize for funniest messed up link ever. I think I've seen better!

And I like Interorbital's website. It looks like a magazine, and I appreciate a page that holds still while I'm trying to read it!


well, there isn't, but it reminded me of the introduction to homestarrunner.com: "homestarrunner.net, 'it's dot com'".

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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 20, 2004 6:16 am
desertbadger wrote:
And I like Interorbital's website. It looks like a magazine, and I appreciate a page that holds still while I'm trying to read it!


It breaks multiple rules about accessibility of websites. Putting blocks of text as images is BAD, they can't be parsed by web-spiders such as Googlebot, you can't search using the browser's 'find text' facility, they can't be read by text-only browsers (Lynx) or audio readers for the blind, etc. etc...

Hey Interorbital, how about a new site design in return for a trip to orbit and back? Seems like a fair trade to me :P


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