45

The X-15 had a reaction control system for all three axes using thrusters with hydrogen-peroxide monopropellant. There was an automatic as well as a manual mode. The manual mode used a single three-axis control joystick. There were two completely independent systems. Each system used six RCS thrusters, two for each axis for both rotation directions. See ...


38

The X-15 has a reaction control system. In this image, it's item 2, 13 and 28, labeled 'ballistic control system'. It was operated via a joystick. Detail of two of the thrusters:


16

In order to achieve "weightlessness", you don't need to achieve a certain speed, you need to achieve a certain acceleration. Earth pulls down at approximately 9.8 m/s^2 which means that any object falling gets faster by 9.8 m/s for every second that it falls. For example, a ball that falls from a tower (disregarding air resistance) and takes three seconds to ...


15

No. The fastest airbreathing engines we have are scramjets (supersonic combustion ramjet), i.e. a duct that compresses the air while allowing it to flow at supersonic speeds. The fastest scramjet flight so far reached Mach 5, or about 1/5 of orbital speed. All other airbreathing engines are slower, mainly because they only work when the air going into ...


15

Here you go: and another drawing:


15

There is absolutely no reason to ever even conceive of flying it again. It was retired because it successfully did the sole task it was designed to do. SpaceShipOne was unsafe1, barely met its requirements2 (which was certainly good enough) and was designed specifically and solely to win the prize. The tiny crew compartment meant that there was zero ...


13

Yes. Buran and the shuttle are the only ones which entered orbit, launched with wings exposed, and launched vertically. Other such designs have also been serious considered. Boeing's X-20 got the closest to flying. It was cancelled shortly after assembly began. The MAKS was cancelled by the collapse of the Soviet Union. The MAKS program started the same ...


13

The US Shuttle program is shut down and can not be restarted without a-never-gonna-happen expediture of funds. The Orbiters are in museums, the tooling to build External Tanks is gone or repurposed, the work force is dispersed. The Soviet-era Buran program is, if possible, even deader. This program only flew one mission, for two orbits, with an incomplete ...


13

Buran and the Space Shuttle will not fly again. Both projects have ended, and the orbiters have gone to museums (or have been destroyed). Reactivating these programs would be enormously expensive at this point. The Shuttle showed that a spaceplane has some disadvantages. It turned out to be really expensive to refurbish the spacecraft for each flight. ...


12

It most certainly won't hurt anything. From FAA's document on returning from space, there is a very interesting chart, which I've included below. So the maximum g load is almost always at around 4500 m, for this particular flight trajectory. From other charts, we find that a lower angle will spread out the re-entry forces, and specifically make the max ...


11

In November 2010, Secure World Foundation (SWF) published their X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Fact Sheet (PDF) that is a conjecture on the purpose of the two Boeing built X-37B OTV (Orbital Test Vehicles) currently operated by U.S. Air Force. It also gives a background on vehicles, their known technical characteristics, and describes official objectives they're ...


10

It may be possible, but not with existing technology. The US spent almost 2 billion dollars developing an airbreathing single-stage-to-orbit vehicle in the 1990s. This "National Aerospace Plane" (NASP) aka the "Orient Express" project never produced any flight hardware, although a test version (the Rockwell X-30) was planned but never built. For such a ...


10

There are quite a few drawings in the first link http://www.buran-energia.com/documentation/documentation-akc-maks-multipurpose.php Related development: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-105 BOR-4 (related development):


9

Was the X-15 capable of reaching orbit? Not on its own (it only carried enough fuel to reach 4500 mph), but with extra fuel tanks or a booster rocket, it could. Was the X-15 capable of returning from orbit? Unambiguously not. The X-15 required an ablative heat-shield coating to reach the aforementioned 4500 mph; given the materials science of the time, ...


9

It's not so much a matter of speed but one of altitude: where the atmospheric pressure is low enough that there's no air drag so one can longer be weightless without any air limitation. Basically the altitude where there's a low enough air drag so your parabola can be of any size and where you don't necessarily have to immediately fall onto the Earth. This ...


9

If the feather system failed to unlock they would die on entry, so it had to be done before committing to the space portion of the flight. Since the feather system is critical to a safe re-entry, it was designed to be both simple and mechanically redundant. It was essential that the feather locks remain locked during the transonic boost phase of flight ...


8

I don't think there's any sort of trend here; of the spaceplanes you mention, one exists only on paper, and none of the others are SSTO: they're all suborbital and mostly multistage. They're spaceships, not launchers. None of them can do anything near what Atlas 5 or Falcon 9 are routinely doing today. There's not a lot of need for development of new ...


8

Just to correct original question in RLV-TD (Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Demonstration) mission the winged body TDV (Technology Demonstration Vehicle) separated at 56 km altitude and proceeded to reach altitude of about 65 km before descent. Yes RLV-TD configuration is unsymmetrical and unstable, former chairman of ISRO K Radhakrishnan briefly talks ...


7

There can be many reasons: Test of technology Doing in-situ measurements in the mesosphere, which is too high for balloons, too low for satellites Performing microgravity experiments where parabolic flights have too short segments of microgravity but where launching a spacecraft is too expensive This list is almost certainly incomplete.


7

Mach 6 buys you roughly 1.8 km/s at those altitudes. OK, let's say that X-15 reached 2 km/s for good measure. But at that speed, Newton still works against you and you're not going to perpetually miss the Earth because of carrying so much momentum in the velocity vector that you're effectively free-falling in a circle around it. To achieve orbital speed you ...


7

You can't just slow it down over many orbits I think the question is suggesting letting a little bit of drag slow the Cessna down until it's at a normal speed before gliding through the atmosphere. That's nice, but it won't work. Orbiting is ballistic flight. Ballistic flight without lateral speed (i.e. once you've started to really slow the Cessna down) is ...


7

SpaceShipOne was retired so quickly because it was a prototype. One of the key lessons-learned over the last seventy-plus years was that the waterfall model does not work when applied to creating something that is substantially new. Another of the key lessons-learned in the same timeframe was that prototyping is a very good way of what I call "debugging ...


6

The fins on the HS9 booster are much larger than what you'd normally see on a rocket with a compact payload under a fairing, which contributes to stability passively, and according to this article, they are providing active steering as well: https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/05/india-launch-reusable-launch-vehicle-demonstrator-mission/


6

I don't think it's that bad a question that it deserves all the criticism it's gotten. Basic idea, fly really high and as fast as possible, then point towards the Earth and use Earth's gravity to go even faster and escape the Earth. Problem #1. Flying really high doesn't look like your diagram. The highest aircraft, if the Earth is the size of a beach-...


6

First of all, the heat shields aren't there just for the dense atmosphere with high deceleration, the upper atmosphere part of reentry also generates heat. If you had a craft that could fly in the upper atmosphere it would still heat up just from its forward speed. Hypersonic vehicles also heat up considerably even though they are just normal aircraft. The ...


6

Not just discussion, this has been done multiple times. A non-exhaustive list: Blue Origin's BE-4 will be used on ULA Vulcan as well as Blue Origin's New Glenn. the Kuznetsov NK-33 was used on the Soviet N-1 launcher and on the Orbital Antares. India used license-built Arianespace Vikings on some of their launchers.


6

I'm assuming the reference is to http://space-track.org, where the US government publishes its information on satellite locations to the world. I just checked, the plane is on the site. So far as I know he doesn't actively have a security clearance, but he does have access to some archival data that isn't easily accessible, and I believe he has at least some ...


5

According to a Virgin Galactic spokesman, the NTSB has determined the pilot unlocked the feathering mechanism too early. The aircraft's speed was too low to keep the feather in place, so it deployed, causing so much drag that structural failure ensued. As of 2015-01-10, Scaled Composites has built most of the second airframe. They are proceeding with the ...


5

No. Keyword: Ram Rise. If we neglect temperature, you can technically have a scramjet that gets enough air by going fast enough, maintaining proper climb rate so that lift, drag and intake air remain roughly constant as speed rises. This all breaks if we look at how heating works. $$Ram~Rise=SAT\times0.2\times{M}^2$$ $$RAT=SAT+k\times{Ram~Rise}$$ SAT -...


4

Skylon's design is, in fact, for a hypersonic SSTO that is partially air-breathing, much as you describe. It has some important differences, though. The first of these is that it does not use a dive to speed up. userLTK's answer explains why using gravity acceleration to get fast enough to get to orbit won't work; briefly, orbit is when you already are ...


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