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Space Plane?

teacher

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
What if you strapped a jet with a turpo prop rocket fuel cell and launched it when it reaches like Mach 5 and it leaves the stratosphere?
They claim the materials technology (heat resistant) is not quite there yet. And besides, it makes too much sense.
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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I've always enjoyed this idea, myself. Never found anyone to volunteer to drive, though.

The Arizona Highway Patrol were mystified when they came upon a pile of smoldering wreckage embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The metal debris resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it turned out to be the vaporized remains of an automobile. The make of the vehicle was unidentifiable at the scene.

The folks in the lab finally figured out what it was, and pieced together the events that led up to its demise.

It seems that a former Air Force sergeant had somehow got hold of a JATO (Jet Assisted Take-Off) unit. JATO units are solid fuel rockets used to give heavy military transport airplanes an extra push for take-off from short airfields.

Dried desert lakebeds are the location of choice for breaking the world ground vehicle speed record. The sergeant took the JATO unit into the Arizona desert and found a long, straight stretch of road. He attached the JATO unit to his car, jumped in, accelerated to a high speed, and fired off the rocket. The facts, as best as could be determined, are as follows:

The operator was driving a 1967 Chevy Impala. He ignited the JATO unit approximately 3.9 miles from the crash site. This was established by the location of a prominently scorched and melted strip of asphalt. The vehicle quickly reached a speed of between 250 and 300 mph and continued at that speed, under full power, for an additional 20-25 seconds. The soon-to-be pilot experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog-fighting F-14 jocks under full afterburners.

The Chevy remained on the straight highway for approximately 2.6 miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver applied the brakes, completely melting them, blowing the tires, and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface. The vehicle then became airborne for an additional 1.3 miles, impacted the cliff face at a height of 125 feet, and left a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock.

Most of the driver's remains were not recovered; however, small fragments of bone, teeth, and hair were extracted from the crater, and fingernail and bone shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be a portion of the steering wheel.
 

akyron

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Scarecrow Akhbar said:
I've always enjoyed this idea, myself. Never found anyone to volunteer to drive, though.

I guess he was trying to catch a roadrunner for dinner.
 

akyron

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
is that true? If so that is (well was) one crazy S.O.B..
The story appears to be untrue but is nonetheless interesting.


This Darwin Award is the most popular of all time. Considered true for years, it was later debunked as an Urban Legend by the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The story fooled the judges in 1995, so JATO has been grandfathered in as a Darwin Award Winner. Officer Bob Stein of the Arizona Department of Public Safety says, "I receive inquiries several times a day about accidents, drug busts, and investigations we are conducting. About two years ago I picked up the phone and researched the answer to what has now become an Arizona myth. Even after all this time, I still receive about five calls a month from people wanting to know, did it really happen?"

The author of the JATO legend would enjoy a cult notoriety were his identity known today. He is unknown; however, there are several who claim of ownership of the idea of strapping a jet engine onto a vehicle. One man's story of the JATO and the Railroad Cart is a 25,000- word essay on what NOT to do if your father own a scrapyard.
 

robin

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Trajan Octavian Titus said:
What if you strapped a jet with a turpo prop rocket fuel cell and launched it when it reaches like Mach 5 and it leaves the stratosphere?
What's a turbo prop rocket cell ?
Anyway people under estimate the weight of fuel & oxident req'd to go into orbit. Burt Rutan achieved an altitude of 71 miles which is a remarkable & only 9 miles short of NASA's definition of space !
Of course to be in orbit one has to have a tangential velocity of 17,400mph. That is another thing altogether & requires many many times as much fuel & therefore a much larger craft among other things. One wonders if his combination of turbo fan, meaning no need to carry oxygen to burn, along with rocket for the last part of the journey is the way to go. Though I suspect rockets will always be the way to get into orbit.
 
G

gdalton

I've seen them working on a new propulsion system which uses lasers to super heat gas for propulsion. I believe the laser is left on earth and from take off to a pre-determined height the atmospheric is air used with in the cone of the engine, then as they near orbit a separate tank is used to supply the gas. When they say gas they are talking an inert gas so they should be able to compress and transport much safer then rocket fuel. I believe once in orbit they would switch to a more conventional means of propulsion to continue the journey.

Burt Rutan rocks, if you ever get a chance watch the Discovery channels documentary about the x-prize and how Burt took it home. I believe his rocket fuel was a mixture of old tires and kerosene.
 

robin

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gdalton said:
I've seen them working on a new propulsion system which uses lasers to super heat gas for propulsion. I believe the laser is left on earth and from take off to a pre-determined height the atmospheric is air used with in the cone of the engine, then as they near orbit a separate tank is used to supply the gas. When they say gas they are talking an inert gas so they should be able to compress and transport much safer then rocket fuel. I believe once in orbit they would switch to a more conventional means of propulsion to continue the journey.
Burt Rutan rocks, if you ever get a chance watch the Discovery channels documentary about the x-prize and how Burt took it home. I believe his rocket fuel was a mixture of old tires and kerosene.
I've seen that little thing going up on a laser beam. Means it doesn't have to carry fuel. Fascinating stuff but hard to see how it could be scaled up. Once laser beams reach a certain power the air turns to plasma which blocks the laser.
 
G

gdalton

robin said:
I've seen that little thing going up on a laser beam. Means it doesn't have to carry fuel. Fascinating stuff but hard to see how it could be scaled up. Once laser beams reach a certain power the air turns to plasma which blocks the laser.
Yeah, I think that is one of the hurdles they are trying to overcome, I believe that is why I have only seen them go up maybe a hundred feet or so. Cool stuff though.

Just a second thought, maybe they will use mini lasers on board so they will not need a huge laser on the ground. That would also help in-orbit flight without switching to a conventional engine. I just don't know if they have mini lasers that powerful.

Man I can’t wait to get my aerospace degree and start playing with this kind of stuff.
 

robin

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gdalton said:
Yeah, I think that is one of the hurdles they are trying to overcome, I believe that is why I have only seen them go up maybe a hundred feet or so. Cool stuff though.

Just a second thought, maybe they will use mini lasers on board so they will not need a huge laser on the ground. That would also help in-orbit flight without switching to a conventional engine. I just don't know if they have mini lasers that powerful.

Man I can’t wait to get my aerospace degree and start playing with this kind of stuff.
The whole point about a laser on the ground that generates thrust in an object above, is one gains the collosal advantage of not needing to carry/lift the fuel. That is of course lost if one carries the laser onboard. Besides... lasers are a very very inefficient way to produce thrust.
No wonder you admire Rutan. I like his try anything & be his own man approach. Must be fun if you have the money like him.
Hope your degree goes well. My efforts in that regard will be one day to a get round to buying radio controlled plane :smile:
 
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robin said:
What's a turbo prop rocket cell ?
Anyway people under estimate the weight of fuel & oxident req'd to go into orbit. Burt Rutan achieved an altitude of 71 miles which is a remarkable & only 9 miles short of NASA's definition of space !
Of course to be in orbit one has to have a tangential velocity of 17,400mph. That is another thing altogether & requires many many times as much fuel & therefore a much larger craft among other things. One wonders if his combination of turbo fan, meaning no need to carry oxygen to burn, along with rocket for the last part of the journey is the way to go. Though I suspect rockets will always be the way to get into orbit.
O.K. the basic idea is if you take a jet as high as it can go like the U2 which can travel almost to the edge of space but can't go into space because the jets need oxygen to get there, so when you reach that critical point you turn on the rockets for the added thrust that you would need at say 2 times the speed of sound to exit the atmosphere.
 
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