Linked Questions

6
votes
3answers
2k views

Why are spacecraft not air-launched from airplanes [duplicate]

I searched on the subject, thinking it could probably be cheaper to fly the spacecraft aboard a plane and then launch it from altitude. The only thing I found was this Wikipedia page, but it only ...
32
votes
6answers
8k views

Why aren't air breathing engines used as small first stages?

I am wondering why we don't use jet engines as first stages. Most small rockets, like the Electron, can lift off with a small thrust. In the Electron's case, 192 kN. Why can't we replace the 9 ...
19
votes
3answers
5k views

Why do rockets not glide back?

After stage separation, why do the rockets not glide back to Earth with wings? Is retro propulsion a better idea than gliding rockets back to 'Earth'? Take Energia-II as an example: Source: buran.ru ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

Could rockets launched from the ground use wings in the stages?

Could a slower or smaller rocket take advantage of lift if all the stages had wings? Could the stages reduce splashdown impact forces by using a spinning seedpod-like design (as shown in the image ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Could you use a hypersonic space plane to fly into space?

Is it possible to use a hypersonic jet that goes at extreme speeds in the atmosphere, then once it's at a high altitude it points down to just above the horizon and speeds up. Then it flies by that ...
1
vote
2answers
506 views

Are today's rockets the last of a dying breed?

We're fortunate to live in an era where there are so many advances being made in aerospace engineering. There are a lot of new companies creating new machines to get to space. However, a lot of them ...
1
vote
1answer
890 views

Why don't some rockets launch in a straight line? [duplicate]

I've seen countless photos of rocket launches that show the path taken by a rocket, and they always seem to arc rather than go in a straight line. Like the following: The adage "the shortest distance ...
5
votes
1answer
337 views

Benefits of air-launching a rocket

Is there a way to quantify how much you would gain by air-launching a rocket compared to a ground launch?
2
votes
3answers
525 views

Could pull from a space elevator be used to assist a rocket launch?

Well, more specifically, using a counterweight like you'd find in a non-space elevator to give the rocket a little acceleration before firing up and spending all that fuel-to-lift-the-fuel-to-lift-the-...
2
votes
1answer
222 views

Does the combination of electromagnetics and scramjets offer a viable potential for horizontal-launch?

Most horizontal-launch systems envisioned in the past, that used electromagnetics as a launch-assist, were subsonic. In order to conserve fuel during launch and to keep engine-weight to a minimal a ...