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Shuttle - Deployable Wings?

by mheslep
Tags: deployable, shuttle, wings
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Danger
#19
Mar28-08, 12:45 AM
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Quote Quote by Danger View Post
There's also the matter of internal space to store the parts while they're not in service.
I'm going to return to this for a moment because I'm not sure if the significance came across the first time. Storing the wings internally would entail completely redesigning the internal systems in order to make room. That would include the engine gimbaling mechanisms, fuel delivery, and everything else behind the cabin.
DaveC426913
#20
Mar28-08, 01:28 PM
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Quote Quote by Danger View Post
I'm going to return to this for a moment because I'm not sure if the significance came across the first time. Storing the wings internally would entail completely redesigning the internal systems in order to make room. That would include the engine gimbaling mechanisms, fuel delivery, and everything else behind the cabin.
Retrofitting is a completely different ball of worms.

Let's assume that we're not talking about retrofitting an existing craft. Let's assume we're building a craft from scratch using mheslep's design but using existing technology**.

**I'm trying to make the comparison with the shuttle a fair one. If we were designing a new craft today, it would be completely different - eg. it might have an aerospike, or might not be reusable at all, considering the criticism of the shuttle's intended usage. So, no new technology.



Maybe the question could be qualified as: when we built the shuttle lo those years ago, how would it have been improved if we knew then what we know now? What if we'd given it depoyable wings?
mheslep
#21
Mar28-08, 01:38 PM
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Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
...Maybe the question could be qualified as: when we built the shuttle lo those years ago, how would it have been improved if we knew then what we know now? What if we'd given it depoyable wings?
Agreed.
NateTG
#22
Mar28-08, 03:11 PM
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Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
Maybe the question could be qualified as: when we built the shuttle lo those years ago, how would it have been improved if we knew then what we know now? What if we'd given it depoyable wings?
Orbital Spaceplanes don't exactly have an excellent record for practicality. There's a reason that NASA is going back to a capsule/parachute approach.

If you're looking at rocket-only, I'd be suggesting something like this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_Dragon_%28rocket%29
Combined with some sort of specialized satellite retrieval payload. (One of the design goals of the shuttle is to retrieve sattelites.)

In practical terms, some sort of initial catapult makes a lot of sense. If I were going to go for a gee-whiz approach, that's what I'd be looking at. Catapults do have the drawback that they tend to do better with high-G approaches that are not suitable for humans.

The Russians researched a hinged wing body-lift plane: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uragan_...lane%29#Uragan

I'm not sure how well something like that could be scaled up...
So, I'd be looking at three stages:
1. Catapult
2. Ramjet Mothership
3. Rocketplane.
Danger
#23
Mar28-08, 05:56 PM
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Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
Let's assume that we're not talking about retrofitting an existing craft. Let's assume we're building a craft from scratch using mheslep's design but using existing technology**.
Fair enough.
My initial impression that Mheslep was attempting a retrofit apparently was mistaken. The diagram did seem to support it, though. (And you can't help noticing that in the picture, the wings scissor right through the engines. Well, I assume that they're under the engines, but that would still interfere with a lot of equipment.)
LURCH
#24
Mar30-08, 01:11 PM
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I have thought of the parachute idea myself, in the past, and it seems to make a lot of sense. Not a traditional round parachute, mind you, but something more like a huge ram-scoop parachute. With minimal effort such a chute could be fitted with controls operated from inside the cabin by a normal stick-and-pedals arrangement. This would amount to a deployable wing, on which the craft could glided to a landing strip much like the current landing method, but at much lower speeds in a much more forgiving vehicle. This would indeed constitute a significant reduction in takeoff weight, as parachutes are much lighter than rigid wings.
seroth
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Mar31-08, 09:06 PM
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it'd cost a lot of money to do that.
LURCH
#26
Apr6-08, 11:49 AM
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Aren't parachutes much cheaper than rigid wings?
mheslep
#27
Apr6-08, 05:01 PM
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Quote Quote by LURCH View Post
Aren't parachutes much cheaper than rigid wings?
Yes but as Russ Waters pointed out in #11 its probably impractical to fish the shuttle out of the ocean.
NateTG
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Apr7-08, 10:41 AM
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Honestly, it can't be that hard to pull the shuttle (or something shuttle-sized) out of the ocean. If nothing else, it could be lifted on some kind of bladder and towed to a port. It's probably more difficult to get it to float in the first place.

The x-38 prototype - which is big, though not as big as the orbiter - has made parafoil landings on land.
mheslep
#29
Apr7-08, 11:29 AM
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Quote Quote by NateTG View Post
Honestly, it can't be that hard to pull the shuttle (or something shuttle-sized) out of the ocean. If nothing else, it could be lifted on some kind of bladder and towed to a port. It's probably more difficult to get it to float in the first place.

The x-38 prototype - which is big, though not as big as the orbiter - has made parafoil landings on land.
The X-38 is interesting; looks like NASA also would like to get rid of wings. However it doesn't prove much in the way of 'chute or foil landings: Wiki says the airfoil used for the little 12 ton X-38 was the 'largest ever made'; 12 tons is a payload to LEO for the current 120 ton orbiter, and by size almost two X-38s could fit in the orbiter bay. The scales aren't even close. Think 747 scale when considering the Orbiter. The goal of the discussion wasn't to discover some freakishly expensive alternative, rather Im more interesting to discover the boundaries of practical improvements over the current design which, despite its problems, works.
LURCH
#30
Apr7-08, 12:45 PM
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Quote Quote by LURCH View Post
...This would amount to a deployable wing, on which the craft could glided to a landing strip much like the current landing method, but at much lower speeds in a much more forgiving vehicle...
Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
Yes but as Russ Waters pointed out in #11 its probably impractical to fish the shuttle out of the ocean.
I'm not talking about fishiong the Shuttle out of the ocean, but landing on a landing strip using a ram-scoop deployable wing rather than a rigid one.
mheslep
#31
Apr7-08, 01:15 PM
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Quote Quote by LURCH View Post
I'm not talking about fishiong the Shuttle out of the ocean, but landing on a landing strip using a ram-scoop deployable wing rather than a rigid one.
Ok, what is your estimate of the the rough order magnitude size of an air foil that would touch down a 120 ton vehicle at ~ 5 ft/sec, i.e., slow enough for a dry landing?
LURCH
#32
Apr13-08, 02:22 PM
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Actually, the Shuttle typically lands at over 300 ft/sec. Also, the shuttle would be considerably lighter without the rigid wings.

But the usual figure I've always heard was about 1 ft2/lb. o, I would guess that a 120 ton vehicle would need to be about 80,000 yd2. Perhaps this company...

http://www.paraflite.com/pdfs/ADS%20...LY%20PAPER.pdf

...could scale up their current project?
mheslep
#33
Apr13-08, 05:04 PM
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Quote Quote by LURCH View Post
Actually, the Shuttle typically lands at over 300 ft/sec. Also, the shuttle would be considerably lighter without the rigid wings.
I'm referring to the rate of descent. If the vehicle touch downs in water in can have a greater final descent rate.

But the usual figure I've always heard was about 1 ft2/lb. o, I would guess that a 120 ton vehicle would need to be about 80,000 yd2. Perhaps this company...

http://www.paraflite.com/pdfs/ADS%20...LY%20PAPER.pdf

...could scale up their current project?
Giving you what final rate of descent? Personnel chutes will put you down 10 ft/sec - too rough for a cargo carrying spacecraft. Im guessing you need 2ft^2. Even at 1ft^2/lb thats 850 ft on a side? A foil having > 1000 ft on the long side? That can't be deployed in the usual pop-it-into-the-air-stream manner.
LURCH
#34
Apr13-08, 06:57 PM
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You've seen people land with personal chutes. They are not decending at 10 ft/sec when they touch down. Keep in mind that I'm not suggesting dropping the vehicle straight down like a mercury capsule, I'm talking about gliding down much like it does currently.

Deployment would indeed be a problem. Obviously, deploying the chute would have to wait untill re-entry drag has slowed the vehicle to subsonic speeds. The size of the wing and the fact that it needs to open to a specific shape could necessitate the use of pyrotechnics for deployment.
mheslep
#35
Apr13-08, 07:46 PM
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Quote Quote by LURCH View Post
You've seen people land with personal chutes. They are not decending at 10 ft/sec when they touch down. Keep in mind that I'm not suggesting dropping the vehicle straight down like a mercury capsule, I'm talking about gliding down much like it does currently.
Common military (T-10, non gliding) chutes touch down at 22-24 feet/sec. Rule of thumb: 'chute touch down rate is the same as jumping off a 10' wall, or V=sqrt(2gh)=25f/s non gliding.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATPS

Gliding must improves things, but I'm unfamiliar w/ how that system gathers and bleeds off energy.
LURCH
#36
Apr14-08, 10:37 AM
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Right, that's why I specified ram-air rather than circular chutes like the military use (or the Mercury and Gemini capsules). But the scale of the thing is still somewhat daunting. As has been mentioned, the airfoil for the x-38 is referred to as the "largest in the world," and the one I linked to from paraflite is for 10-ton payloads, and will be the new record, I believe. Making one big enough to fly the Shuttle (minus its wings) is truly a new realm. I don't know if simply "scaling up" the current forms would function. But if it did, it would be lighter and cheaper than building the Shuttle with wings.


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