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Aerospace Research Proposal: Sub-Orbital Flight Path

  1. May 10, 2010 #1
    Research Proposal: Sub-Orbital & Orbital Flight Path

    *Brain-storm Ideas With Me* *Light "imagineering" should be okay on this thread. I don't require anything that technical, mostly just ideas.*

    I'm in a technical writing class which is giving me the opportunity to work on grant proposals. It's quite exciting. I've chosen to propose a research project for a certain NASA grant. Now, the project I decide to propose doesn't have to be something I actually do, because I'm only a second year student. It is just to make me skilled in doing these types of proposals.

    Here is a link to the grant:

    http://www07.grants.gov/search/search.do;jsessionid=Bz7qLyyB2cLJXyb7dvvJ9tyJmzMH0GVyhNDp2jjNW9VDFfPfLLgG!407920266?oppId=51418&mode=VIEW" [Broken]

    NASA.gov (full grant details):
    http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/418826main_Space%20Grant%202010%20Solicitation%20Rev%20B[1 [Broken]

    I'm thinking of proposing a method for sub-orbital and orbital flight based on a two craft, in-flight, release and launch system. It would be very similar to Virgin Galactic's launch system. However, I'd like to think of a way of making orbital flight possible with this type of launch, while keeping costs relativity low.

    This orbital flight method is oriented towards being used for commercial purposes eventually.

    WhiteKnightOne & SpaceShipOne:
    [PLAIN]http://www.spacetoday.org/images/Rockets/XPrizeRockets/SpaceShipOne/WhiteKnightCarriesSSO_1.jpg [Broken]

    WhiteKnightTwo & SpaceShipTwo:

    Virgin Galactic's Flight Launch and re-entry method:

    Needed Research:
    - Propulsion
    - Structural Design

    If anyone has any ideas to throw around for this proposal, feel free to do so or even change the proposal idea all together if you have a cool idea that I can work with. The proposal has to meet these requirements: worked on within an academic institution and increase the understanding, assessment, development, and utilization of space and aeronautics resources.

    I've attached a copy of my pre-proposal rough draft to give you guys a better idea of where I was going with this.

    I'll post any progress I've made towards this research proposal.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. May 10, 2010 #2
    To keep things simple for most of us, including myself, what if I think of some simple ways to create my own propulsion system. Scaled Composites uses a Hybrid Rocket Motor for the propulsion behind their SpaceShipTwo. It's an assembly of a solid rocket booster and I believe the solid fuel is surrounded by liquid fuel tanks of some sort.

    "Because a rocket has to operate in the very thin upper atmosphere, where oxygen for fuel combustion is scarce, and in space, where there really isn't any, it has to carry its own oxidizer. There are two main types of rocket propulsion: liquid engines and solid motors.

    Unsurprisingly, liquid engines mix two liquids together and ignite them to produce thrust. Typically these may be liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, both potentially volatile substances that need careful separate storage and highly specialized pumps to supply them to the combustion chamber. Liquid engines have the advantage of high efficiencies; they are throttle-able and can be shut down early if necessary. But they are relatively complex and expensive to build.

    Solid rocket motors are like fireworks, a solid mixture of fuel and oxidiser contained in a tube. Just like fireworks,

    you light them and off you go. Their great advantage is that they are very simple. But the big disadvantage is that, once lit, they can't be stopped; they burn until all the propellant is used up.

    However, there is a third type of rocket propulsion known as a hybrid motor. Here the fuel is in solid form and the oxidizer is a liquid. The passage of the oxidizer over the fuel is controlled by a valve which allows the motor to be throttled or shut down as required.

    Hybrid motors offer both simplicity and safety. This is the type of motor that SpaceShipTwo will employ and that was used by SpaceShipOne. It means that the pilots will be able to shut down the SpaceShipTwo rocket motor at any time during its operation and glide safely back to the runway. The oxidizer is Nitrous Oxide and the fuel a rubber compound; both benign, stable as well as containing none of the toxins found in solid rocket motors."


    Does anyone have ideas for what I might also need to add to my research list to make this sort of aircraft/spacecraft?

    So far I have: Propulsion and Structural Design.
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
  4. May 13, 2010 #3


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  5. May 13, 2010 #4
    Thanks for the interesting link! However, that's not where I was going with this research idea. So, I'm still okay :) haha.
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