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Who Will Put Americans Back Into Space?


bornagainathiest
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http://www.spacex.com/

 

NASA has awarded $440 million to Elon Musk's outfit to develop their Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule combo.

 

http://boeing.mediar...?s=43&item=1323

 

NASA gives $212.5 million to Boeing for their CST-100 capsule, which can mate with a variety of launch vehicles.

 

http://sncspace.com/...exploration.php

 

Sierra Nevada Corp. also get $212.5 million for their Dream Chaser mini-shuttle system.

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Ok, all of the above are 'traditional' rocket-based lifting systems. But what about a really radical approach to the whole problem of getting into orbit? Something like... taking off from a runway and going directly to orbit, using a hypersonic spaceplane that's powered by combined air-breathing jet/rocket engines?

 

Anyone think these gentlemen are onto something?

 

http://www.reactione...o.uk/index.html

 

The way I see it, we've done trans-atlantic co-operation before and it's worked brilliantly. Take the P-51 Mustang. A British Rolls-Royce Merlin engine in an all-American airframe. The Martin B-57 was originally a British design, built under licence over here. http://en.wikipedia....n_B-57_Canberra And let's not forget the McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier. Same process - built under licence and based on the original British design. http://en.wikipedia....V-8B_Harrier_II

 

Now, is it too left of field to suggest funding the Brits to the tune of a few million and seeing if they can come up with the goods? Historically their aviation industry has been big on ingenuity and technical wizardry but small on investment and output. Wouldn't it be a marriage made in heaven (metaphorically speaking) for us to use our much bigger manufacturing base and their technical know-how to make these Skylon spaceplanes under licence?

 

With a quoted turn-around time of only 48 hours, just imagine what a dozen Skylons with American pilots could do. At any given time, at least three or more might be in orbit. For example...

 

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Regular payload delivery to the International Space Station.

2.

Rapid-Response rescue (perhaps, just a few hours) to Low Earth orbit.

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Deployment of personnel to Low Earth orbit.

4.

Launch of government and commercial satellites.

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Launch of modules for orbital construction projects at a fast rate of delivery.

6.

Launch of rocket-assisted satellites to High Earth orbit, Geo-Stationary or other orbits.

7.

Launch of rocket-assisted interplanetary robot probes.

 

They could use any sufficiently hardened runway that's equipped with the Liquid Hydrogen/Liquid Oxygen handling facilities.

 

Thoughts... anyone?

 

BAA.

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