Theo Viljoen
This is nothing new... What the video does not show is how the stage boosters are being recovered... will that even be done? If not, just more space junk of which some may drop on our heads!
I\'m not sure how much benefit they get from an aerial launch, but I suppose they could fly their rocket to an equatorial launch position which can help somewhat.
For some reason the picture remind me of the Spruce Goose. I hope it turns out more successfully.
Mr Stiffy
yeah if they can launch at say 30K of altitude or more, that is through the thickest part of the atmosphere and 1/3 of the way into orbit, using air breathing engines only. Much smaller rocket, or much bigger load.
The bastards have actually stolen my idea....
They are going to have to make that wing incredibly strong. Some of the time it has a very heavy rocket and part of the time there is none; that can easily lead to fatigue or bending to the point that the aerodynamics are very different between the two states. As for \"stealing\" the idea, the Pegasus rocket has the same launch scenario...high altitude plane plus rocket that separates and launches into orbit. They have just gone big so the rocket can be manned...hardly is just all the sweat and engineering know-how as well as the actuality of initiating making such a craft that is worth acknowledging.
Hmm I\'m not sure I follow this idea. Attaining orbit is about velocity, not about altitude (so much). Quick wikipedia check says for a circular low earth orbit, you need a velocity of 6.9 to 7.8 km/s. This aircraft will only get a fraction of that (by my estimation around 0.2 km/s).
Will this really save so much? Normal orbital vehicles usually get through the atmosphere in seconds, with little additional expenditure of fuel as I have it.
Jacob Shepley
people above forget that many rocket launches are delayed due to weather conditions. this is a reusable launch system that can travel to spaces with launchable conditions.
They mentioned this yet people above didn\'t read?
this system allows for a faster turn around time to the next mission and can be used as a massive transport vehicle when not launching rockets.
If I could choose how that much money was going to be spent - I would prefer that instead of bailing out Wall Street and the banks, put a stop to the bleeding economy and the housing brake down. What kind of message is this sending to struggling tax payers?
They could have used only four GE90-115B engine from the 777-300ER instead of the six from the 747.
Myron J. Poltroonian
Finally! \"Space the final frontier\" may be as accessible as your nearest neighborhood watering hole.
Dave C
@Otiose The first 1/3 of the journey to space is the most expensive, requiring you to lift the payload, the hardware, and the fuel to get it there. A tank full of JP5 or other jet fuel is much cheaper, safer, and easier to handle. The turnaround for the transport would be little more than a fill-up and preflight checks, once the payload is attached.
They didn\'t mention payload capacity and that will ultimately determine viability of the system. Whether it will be man rated or capable is another question. This could be a great platform for rescue missions, if man capable, or if it could deliver an empty, reentry capable, rescue capsule to a stricken craft. Lots of possibilities here. Best of luck to Mr. Allen and Mr. Rutan et al