Brahmand.com takes a look at India’s step-by-step approach to developing reusable hypersonic launch vehicles:
The RLV will loft a satellite into orbit and immediately re-enter the atmosphere and glide back for a conventional landing. The RLV and the rocket booster will be recovered separately, with the former making a conventional landing on a runway and booster making a parachute landing.
The Reaction Engines’ Skylon project — which aims to create a full reusable single-stage space plane — is set to undergo a two-day review by an international team of experts beginning on Monday, according to a memorandum the company submitted to the British Parliament.
I’m attending Space Access 2010 Conference in Phoenix. It begins in about an hour. I will be blogging on it through Saturday. I also will be on a panel about World Space on Friday evening.
The Space Review features the following articles this week:
- Jeff Foust reports on the reaction to the Augustine Commission report and how the report is the next step, but not the last step, in crafting a new space policy.
- Taylor Dinerman sees some encouraging signs that big companies and the government are taking a renewed interest in reusable launch vehicles.
- Sam Dinkin looks at how further improvements in morbidity can make space settlement imminent.
- Dwayne Day looks at Saddam Hussein’s effort to develop a space program.
The Simple Truth about Reusable Launchers Is Not So Simple
There are several key factors that have retarded progress in this area. An ideal RLV would be: a single stage vehicle; inexpensive to operate and able to be turned around quickly. Thanks to NASA’s failed billion-dollar experience trying to build a scaled down technology demonstrator, the X-33, we can say that single-stage RLVs are beyond the current state of technology. The fundamental reason has to do with the energy needed to achieve orbit and the lack of a propulsion system that can deliver the required vehicle velocity at a high enough efficiency.
What Ever Happened To Reusable Launch Vehicles
The simple truth is that we do not know how to make reusables and we cannot make a good business case for them. Many have tried, but all have failed. Most recently NASA spent over one billion dollars trying to build a scaled down technology demonstrator, the X-33.