Primary discussion forum. Also, feel free this use as a hangout for fans of the funny non-story based comics.
Sun May 29, 2011 4:15 pm
http://www.pcworld.com/article/228667/s ... space.html
Got home this morning to see this news. Personally if it works out I think it'll be glorious how about the rest of you?
Sun May 29, 2011 5:26 pm
I remember reading about something like this. It's the ship that takes off horizontally, like a plane, and lands vertically, right?
Sun May 29, 2011 7:17 pm
it says in like the first paragraph that it uses a runway to take off and land
Mon May 30, 2011 3:27 pm
I know. The second part was not stated, which is why I asked, so don't berate me.
Mon May 30, 2011 3:59 pm
Yes it takes off and lands at a runway, ideally even the same runway.
This baby is designed to achieve Mach 5 before it even taps into it's rocket fuel.
Mon May 30, 2011 8:44 pm
how you gonna land vertically on a runway, nigga? it obviously will land like a plane
Tue May 31, 2011 6:10 am
You live in the UK, think Harrier. This is not one of those but that's how a plane lands vertically.
Also a crash can be considered a vertical landing.
Last edited by zepherin
on Tue May 31, 2011 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tue May 31, 2011 1:49 pm
I don't think this DOES land vertically, there's really no reason for them to since they'd almost assuredly have a devoted airport.
Vertical landing comes into play if you have limited space, like on aircraft carriers and such.
Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:12 pm
Grey wrote:how you gonna land vertically on a runway, nigga?
Some Russian capsules (most/all?) land vertically with retro rockets, as opposed to the ocean landings used by the US program.
Anyway, regarding Skylon, a reusable airplane-type spaceship (especially a single stage to orbit one) has to be able to deal with a much smaller fuel fraction than a traditional rocket. As mentioned in the article, using atmospheric oxygen should help a lot, and using modern composites should help bring down the mass of the vehicle. It just remains to be seen how well it will perform, and if it can beat traditional rockets on payload cost.
On a technical note, the use of hydrogen for fuel implies that weight is a bigger concern than the greater technical issues it raises. Though the high heat capacity and speed of sound of hydrogen probably helps with the engine precooling section mentioned.
Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:17 pm
Well weight would be an issue anyways, they want to have as much room to haul loads as they possibly can.
Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:47 pm
Yeah, but hydrogen engines are harder to build than ones that burn liquid hydrocarbons (because, e.g. of more extreme pressure and temperature requirements and the ability of hydrogen to happily penetrate merely airtight seals). Only the upper stages of the Saturn V used hydrogen, and the Soviet equivalent didn't use hydrogen main engines at all. Hydrogen use is not universal in modern rockets, despite everyone wanting them to lift as much as they can. Despite the challenges, hydrogen offers weight savings, so apparently the Skylon people think it's worth it.
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