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Questions tagged [ssto]

Questions about single-stage-to-orbit spacecraft or system designs, that don't dispose any of their hardware during flight and can be reused as a whole. They can be entirely self-propelled, or partially accelerated to initial velocity by systems that are not parts of the space vehicle.

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The Boeing Big Onion - Why not use the atmospheric engines on landing?

https://www.aerospaceprojectsreview.com/blog/?p=1325 In relation the the Boeing "Big Onion" SSTO LV, I was doing some brief digging on it's flight profile. (See the awesome Hazegrayart ...
AnarchoEngineer's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
263 views

What are these weird things on the McDonnell Douglas X-33?

Got another mystery. What are these things (highlighted) that are attached to to the heatshield of the McDonnell Douglas X-33 proposal? All I can think is maybe OMS? X-33 Proposal by McDonnell ...
AnarchoEngineer's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
307 views

Could rotating detonation engines help create a successful single stage to orbit vehicle?

I noticed NASA's demonstration engine uses an aerospike engine nozzle which is great for single stage to orbit (SSTO) attempts due to its ability to be optimized for both vacuum and sea level ...
David's user avatar
  • 1,001
1 vote
1 answer
282 views

How would an SSTO adapt to various payloads?

Yet another kerbal question here. Background: I've built many SSTOs before, mainly small, light-payload or crew delivery ones (either boosted by a rocket or by itself). The reason why I've been shying ...
WarpPrime's user avatar
  • 3,125
3 votes
3 answers
808 views

Can Starship reach orbit without superheavy, now upgraded as of Jan 2022 to 9 engines and stretched tanks?

Can Starship reach orbit without superheavy, now that it's been upgraded as of Jan 2022 to 9 engines (added 3 vacuum raptors) and stretched tanks? Back in 2018 Elon said on twitter that the earlier ...
Charlie Wallace's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why was the Delta Clipper cancelled?

The Delta Clipper (McDonnell Douglas DC-X) achieved vertical landing two decades before SpaceX's Falcon 9. And its cost was very low — only 60 million dollars. Why was such an awesome rocket cancelled?...
Joe Jobs's user avatar
  • 2,650
3 votes
1 answer
535 views

Is SLS capable of launching the core stage into LEO?

After watching the Hazegrayart video If Rockets were Transparent I realized that I didn't really have a clear idea what the Space Launch System (SLS) is capable of doing. Question: Is SLS capable of ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
7 votes
1 answer
283 views

Is there a rule of thumb for the mass of thermal protection systems?

A lot of discussions of SSTOs and the potential for making upper stages re-usable hinge on the fact that thermal protection systems for reentry from full orbital velocity are pretty heavy (and ...
ikrase's user avatar
  • 8,873
0 votes
1 answer
143 views

Would Sabre make a good first stage engine for a hypothetical 2-stage design?

Sabre is usually described in the context of the Skylon SSTO design but, would it make more sense to use such engines for the first stage of a two stage design? Basically, would the air breathing ...
InkWiring's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
518 views

Would the Space Shuttle External Tank have made orbit as a VT SSTO with 6 SSMEs?

Dropping the external boosters and also the entire 75-100 ton orbiter from the picture, would the tank all by itself have made orbit? This would require bolting at least 5, better 6, perhaps even 9 ...
Prototypist's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
3k views

Is the UK's Skylon Project still going forward?

I have read a lot about Skylon which is a single stage to orbit concept space plane with a SABRE engine designed by the UK think tank Reaction Engines limited. However, in recent months it seems like ...
David Coleman's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
687 views

Could a Roton-like SSTO work?

The Roton, developed by Rotary Rocket Company, was an attempt at SSTO using a helicopter rotor for takeoff and landing. This particular concept was cone-shaped with a tip-jet rotor on top and an ...
Eth's user avatar
  • 779
4 votes
0 answers
71 views

Who owns the IP developed in the VentureStar program?

The VentureStar program including the prototype X-33 cost upwards of $1 billion, surely some of that went into still meaningful intellectual property. Who would own it now? NASA provided the funding, ...
Lex's user avatar
  • 1,338
8 votes
1 answer
488 views

How many SSTO projects have ever existed with realistic goals and reliable designs?

Spaceplanes have always been thought to be a SSTO system with flight from ground to orbit and back, and while some concepts demonstrated suborbital capabilities, like the XCOR Lynx none ever made it. ...
Rajath Pai's user avatar
  • 1,251
21 votes
4 answers
4k views

What would be necessary in order for us to achieve a single stage to orbit, reusable rocket?

I have read articles and seen videos explaining why an SSTO (Single Stage To Orbit) rocket* is not possible. But I was wondering... What would be required to achieve this? Answers can be literally ...
Outsider's user avatar
  • 578
10 votes
1 answer
1k views

What are the details of the SSTO Mars profile for the BFR?

In this link and on other occasions, SpaceX has indicated that the BFR would land on Mars, "top off the tanks" as the article says, and then launch back to Martian orbit. SSTO doesn't work on Earth ...
Chris B. Behrens's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
399 views

From a strictly engineering standpoint, would Venturestar have worked as an SSTO?

In looking at the questions here and here, I'm wondering - was the VentureStar platform doomed from the start (in ways nobody could foresee), or was it only the cooling problems with aerospike engines ...
Chris B. Behrens's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
263 views

Number of burns for optimal launch ascent

If we consider Mars, with its relatively low gravitational acceleration and low density atmosphere, I had always assumed that if we have a single-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle on the surface of Mars ...
InquisitiveInquirer's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
303 views

How plausible is the Skylon project? [closed]

Skylon is the frontier of launch vehicle research with literally 1 TRL(Technology Readiness Level), and it is more difficult than the Space Shuttle project. The project would cost estimate of 12 ...
Raze's user avatar
  • 559
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

What thrust-to-weight ratio would be required for a SSTO without any external boosters?

Assume we have a society that has sophisticated enough engineering to build a SSTO chassis that can survive the rigors of repeated launch (MaxQ) and re-entry (thermal stress). What thrust to weight ...
user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Burn spare oxidizer or carry it along?

Okay. This is not directly related to actual space travel, but it is semi-related, and definitely a practical, actual problem I face. It's about Kerbal Space Program and SSTO spaceplanes. And I ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 55k
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is SSTO viable on Mars?

I know that Single-Stage-to-Orbit is quite challenging from the surface of Earth, but it's relatively straightforward from the moon (as demonstrated by the Apollo LM). What about Mars? Let's assume in-...
kgutwin's user avatar
  • 1,566
4 votes
1 answer
567 views

Could the Atlas-B (SM-65B) have made it to orbit without jettisoning the first-stage engines?

Related to this question about single-stage-to-orbit vehicles, the Atlas-B launch vehicle seems to have been the closest to a true SSTO solution. Although it did jettison booster engines, the vehicle ...
Brian Lynch's user avatar
  • 4,350
39 votes
7 answers
14k views

Has humanity launched a SSTO ... ever?

If you've been reading the news lately, you've probably been reading about Skylon and it being Single Stage To Orbit (SSTO). I've had a think back and to the best of my knowledge humanity has always ...
Coomie's user avatar
  • 2,907
24 votes
1 answer
7k views

Why is the SABRE engine curved?

Why is the Reaction Engines Limited SABRE (Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine) curved along it's length?     Illustration of the SABRE engine with the pre-cooler heat ...
DavidA's user avatar
  • 343
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why have no reusable launch technologies been developed?

So we had the shuttle, and they obviously reused it many times, but it always needed new rockets to get it out of Earth's atmosphere. Why is it so difficult to create a spacecraft that is entirely ...
ElScorcho's user avatar
  • 563
9 votes
4 answers
2k views

Was the X-15 program a dead end for orbital insertion?

That's B-70 Valkyrie carrying the X-15. What private space is trying to accomplish, was done in the 60's. In fact, The X-15 remains the fastest and highest flying manned aircraft ever flown. What ...
lurscher's user avatar
  • 633
11 votes
3 answers
2k views

Are we capable (engineering-wise) of building a spacecraft in space?

Rockets are expensive. And for the most part, one-time-use-only. SSTO promises to change that. However, SSTOs will have limited payload capacity (as will every launch vehicle), and eventually ...
IT Bear's user avatar
  • 1,199
5 votes
2 answers
388 views

Could a SSTO bladder of air scooped from atmosphere improve performance?

Let's start out with an air breathing SSTO, like Skylon. These things have pretty bad mass ratios and pretty razor thin margins. Given that the engines react with the oxygen in the air during the ...
AlanSE's user avatar
  • 16.3k
13 votes
4 answers
4k views

What are the advantages of SSTO craft over Multi-stage crafts?

I hear a lot of talk about SSTO, and it got me to wonder, what's so good about them? Doesn't it make sense to get rid of parts that you no longer need for a mission? The way I see it, if it emptied a ...
Neowizard's user avatar
  • 233
5 votes
2 answers
2k views

How exactly does the inclination and direction (specifically retrograde) of orbit affect the velocity I need to attain orbit?

this is my first question here; and a lot of what I've learnt so far has been pretty much self taught so I thought I best hear from professionals. :) First let me set the scene as to what I am trying ...
caprlk's user avatar
  • 53
6 votes
1 answer
715 views

Which launch vehicles are considered SSTO?

Are there any operating SSTO (single stage to orbit) vehicles? Are there others being tested such as Reaction Engine's Skylon?
Stu's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
2k views

Was VentureStar a bad design or simply ahead of its time?

VentureStar was (IMHO) a pretty cool design; a reusable space plane designed for low running costs and rapid turn-around seems like just what the world needs. However, it was cancelled in 2001 due to (...
dave's user avatar
  • 283
5 votes
1 answer
304 views

Did VentureStar technology lead anywhere?

VentureStar seemed to make a bit of progress before being cancelled in 2001. Did any of the technology developed for this program lead anywhere? For example, its aerospike engines or high-tech fuel ...
dave's user avatar
  • 283
9 votes
1 answer
455 views

Any other countries/companies doing anything similar to British Skylon SSTO?

I was reading about the British Skylon SSTO (Single Stage To Orbit) vehicle and its SABRE engine described in Wikipedia. The engine technology looks remarkable, if not revolutionary. Is this a unique ...
Anthony X's user avatar
  • 17.6k