Discussion in 'General Science' started by Wendy, Mar 5, 2011.
Privatization of the final frontier isn't far off.
Virgin Galactic is a prime example of the progress being made.
I just hope we never reach the point where there's a giant Coca-Cola billboard floating across the sky... thats when I move to mars.
Virgin Galactic gets its passengers high enough to count as "space". To get into orbit (or beyond) requires the craft to reach escape velocity (I think about 18,000mph), a much more difficult task. Usually involving multi-stage rockets.
If you can make 60 miles high (or better) it doesn't take that much more. Some, yes, but you have done about 2/3 of the job.
Well, I haven't done the math but Virgin Galactic at 60 miles up it's velocity has dropped to zero and begins it's fall downward.
To get into orbit you have to get much higher than 60 miles up and still be going at escape velocity!
The only real significance to 60 miles is you are almost completely out of the atmosphere. Being low earth orbit you are still where the solar flares can make the atmosphere swell and bring you down (assuming you are in orbit), which is what happened to SkyLab. The effect came as a rude surprise to NASA.
There is another promising avenue of research that may actually yield something eventually, using a maglev track along with the fairly new SCRAM jet. It will be at least a decade for anything to come of it though.
I find it amazing that they're able to get this to work. Scramjets and hypersonic fluid theory just blow my mind (not in an "I don't understand" way, in a "holy cow thats awesome" sorta way)
Falcon Heavy Rocket gets unveiled by SpaceX (Update)
I was out while this thread was started, so I missed it.
BUT, interesting-ly enough, my father worked on the NASP, National AreoSpace Plane.
They had some GREAT ideas for that thing.
It had a hydrogen scrubber built into the intake to "steal" hydrogen from the air and local humidity and break it down and store it/use it as fuel.
SO, it was re-fueling itself while flying by taking hydrogen from the air.
Kind of like regenerative breaking with Electric Vehicles, but not quite
This was only on a sketch, as far as I know. I have no clue if the "H2 Scrubber" worked, or was even built. It was one of thousands of ideas tossed around from the brain-storming sessions during the NASP project.
Where did the energy come from to get the hydrogen? Last I heard our atmosphere has no free hydrogen. It sounds like you are describing the SCRAM jet and oxygen though.
The SCRAM jet uses the oxygen in our atmosphere and carries its hydrogen on board. When it reaches no atmosphere it seals the air intake and uses on board oxygen, this for a tremendous savings not carrying oxidizer fuel.
Hmmm, learned something here.
Oddly enough, he worked on SCRAMjet designs also.
I may be mixing the two together...but I am pretty sure it was called an H2 scrubber.
It was by no means a perpetual motion machine, it was only used to lengthen flight.
I will ask my pops at our next meeting to straighten it out.
And, it was never built, it was on the drawing.
Here is the wikipedia page. Also, they planned for scramjets to be used.
I will find out what the deal was when I talk to my pops next.
Reading the wiki page, the use of shaping at such high speeds allowed for compression OUTSIDE of the engine, and aiming super-heated gases into the combustion chamber.
The wiki does not go into the thrust development any more than that, so again, we must wait.. Unless another member has any info regarding the technology.
SCRAM jets are old, and yet new. They've been working on them for 20 or so years. Now they have a working version maybe we can see some vehicles developed around them.
Using speed and friction as energy to help fuel the jet is an amazing concept. I remember talking to my dad about the scramjet.
They use a standard ramjet to get the test vehicle up to speed. A scramjet has no way of compressing and heating the intake air, so the vehicle gets to a speed where the intake are is naturally being thrust into the combustion chamber and heating itself. This ultra hot, ultra compressed air/fuel mixture combusts and off goes the scramjet.
I can not recall if there were any wind tunnels that had wind speeds high enough to trigger a scramjet. It would have been in the early 90s' that he was working on these projects, There are likely quite capable wind tunnels now....possibly using jetwash instead of propwash as the wind-source..
It must be an interesting area to be involved in. Never a dull moment... especially during destructive tests
I don't know when they got it, but I know Purdue had a super (possibly hyper??) sonic wind tunnel.
They need to test their chickens!
Secret Military Mini-Shuttle Marks One Year in Orbit
I saw a better article a while back.
I'm glad to see we have something, even if it is boosted by a rocket.