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HOMECOMING

March 22, 2017

RETURN TO BASE

Life is hard for an orbiter.  The vehicle needs thrusters in space so we have those and a couple of extra ones.  The main engine needs a bigger nozzle for space but there is little space on the vehicle with the booster pressing in from behind.  The reentry needs a clean shape with a curved bottom and a “duck tail” that will motivate a nose high attitude.  Then it has to return to level flight to the runway, deal with possible crosswinds, enter ground effect and join the runway.  We prefer to land with the belly down when possible as well.

A1

THRUSTERS GALORE

A2

A BELLY FULL!

A7

ON YOUR OWN

A9

OPEN WIDE AND…

A10

HEY!  EXTEND THE NOZZLE INTO PREVIOUSLY OCCUPIED SPACE!

A11

AN ABLATIVE EXTENSION COULD BE EXPENDABLE.

A12

OR WE COULD MOVE THE WHOLE ENGINE WITH ACTUATORS.

THEN ONE COULD GIBMAL THE ENGINE BY RETRACTING THE ACTUATORS.

A13

THE UPPER BODY FLAP “DUCK TAIL”

A15

MAY BE SHAPED TO SPLIT HOT FLOW AWAY FROM THE VERTICAL SURFACES

A14

WHILE SPLIT LOWER SURFACES INFLUENCE PITCH AND ROLL

This not a shape that we have seen proposed before, but it fits our horizontal launch designs.  It is modeled in Siemens NX software so it is compatible with CFD programs.  If you have such tools we can deliver the solid models to you to analyze.  We can’t pay to do this but we can let you look it over for your own interests.  Anyone who has the tools has potential to do more than we can do now.  I have no problem letting real players evaluate and consider the potential.  The real refinement comes when the smart guys have a chance to get paid.

A16

WITH THRUSTERS, CROSSWINDS SHOULD BE NO CHALLENGE…FIGHT BACK!

A21

WRONG END OF THE RUNWAY?  NOT IF YOU CAN LAND SHORT…

A22

OR DO A QUICK TURN?  (Well I can’t find enough runway photos!)

A17

SERIOUSLY, FLYING INTO GROUND EFFECT IS A LOT EASIER TO DO THAN…

SPACEX3

THIS

A18

SO WITH THRUSTERS WE CAN DO THIS TOO.  ON A WIDE STABLE BASE.

A20

SO WHO NEEDS LANDING GEAR?

So we have considered ways to join the craft and cut mass.  We try to watch for aerodynamic needs for reentry and the final landing.  Now we should have time to locate fuel tanks and payload while refining the structural notions.  CAD tools can illustrate notional ideas if we don’t stray too far from known practices.  But the picture will always change as engineers find a path to hardware.  Analysis and innovation will change everything.  These images are already changing every week.  I may not recognize this if it ever gets built!

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