Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Space Travel News .




ROCKET SCIENCE
Fast20XX research project - ideas for travelling at hypersonic speed
by Staff Writers
Berlin, Germany (SPX) Dec 13, 2012


SpaceLiner vision.

The vision is enticing - board in Europe, sit back, and disembark 90 minutes later on the other side of the world, in Australia. But before the SpaceLiner, which is being developed by the Institute of Space Systems at the German Aerospace Center, can fly a route like this for the first time, new technologies still have to be tested and basic requirements defined.

Scientists from Germany, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Sweden have been carrying out research for the Fast20XX (Future high-Altitude high-Speed Transport) project, which is supported by the EU, for three years.

The results of the project, which has now been concluded, will influence the future design of the DLR SpaceLiner and the Aerospace Innovation GmbH ALPHA aircraft.

Flying like a space shuttle
The concept already exists; the DLR SpaceLiner is intended to stand upright like a space shuttle before launch and take off on its journey using rocket engines. After the initial burn, the reusable booster stage will separate from the orbiter, in which there will be a capsule with a capacity of 50 passengers. The glide phase will start eight minutes later, at 20 times the speed of sound.

The landing, around 80 minutes later, will take place on a normal runway like a conventional aircraft. It is a project for which there are no existing examples: "We are having to define the dimensions ourselves and use computer models of the SpaceLiner to feel our way," says DLR project coordinator Martin Sippel.

"The SpaceLiner is a challenge in terms of both technology and operations." So it is that the 17 partners in the Fast20XX research project have not been designing an aircraft, but rather investigating important interdisciplinary aspects for an aircraft capable of air and space travel.

Multiple DLR institutes have been involved in the project; besides the Institute of Space Systems, the Institute of Aerospace Medicine, the Institute of Structures and Design and the Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology have also contributed digital and experimental results.

Computer simulations
One important issue is cooling the space plane during flight. After the drive phase, the SpaceLiner glides, during which time it encounters friction from Earth's atmosphere. At this stage, temperatures can reach up to 1800 degrees Celsius. The solution is active cooling on the aircraft nose and the leading edges of the wings. The idea is that water will escape from porous ceramic components and provide cooling as it evaporates.

The DLR Institute of Structures and Design is developing and manufacturing suitable ceramics for this transpiration cooling and is simulating their flow on computers. Following work on Fast20XX with tests in the plasma wind tunnel at the DLR site in Cologne, the engineers are now certain that active cooling is possible using porous ceramic materials.

The scientists are also researching the airflow around the aircraft itself and are using computer programmes to model this.

"The SpaceLiner will reach a flight altitude where atmospheric pressure is very low, so the flow phenomena change," explains Sippel. Models were tested in a special wind tunnel at the DLR site in Gottingen and compared with digital simulations from Italian partner organisation CIRA.

The agreement between the measurements and the simulations was sufficiently high that the simulations are being used to support the future design of the space plane.

Basic requirements for the high-speed aircraft
Besides researching the aerodynamics, materials and cooling, projects such as the SpaceLiner require numerous other types of research as well. For example, is flight at hypersonic speed even tolerable for the passengers? The Institute of Aerospace Medicine has given a green light. What approval requirements do the constructors of high-speed aircraft face?

To what extent will the environment be affected - even though the SpaceLiner will only emit water as it flies? The 17 partners in the Fast20XX research project are also collating data and researching these topics.

"Moreover, we have also worked out the situations in which a flight will need to be aborted and how to respond to situations such as an engine failure," says Sippel. It is already clear that the SpaceLiner can only be launched far from inhabited areas - and that high-speed flight must take place at high altitudes in order to protect inhabited regions from sonic booms.

Many questions are still unanswered; how can the rocket engine be made to operate reliably and safely? What should the tank pressurisation system look like? How must the thermal protection system for the entire aircraft be designed? And what requirements must the passenger cabin meet, since it will also act as a rescue capsule in the event of an emergency? Then, the network of rescue centres on the ground would have to function flawlessly.

From space tourism to scheduled flights
For Martin Sippel, a first step on the road to transportation for long haul flights is Project ALPHA by Aerospace Innovation GmbH. This space plane, which was also researched in Fast20XX, is intended to be launched from an Airbus A330 at an altitude of 14 kilometres with two passengers and one pilot, and then reach an altitude of 100 kilometres.

"Space tourism like this might be the first step and be achieved this decade - it is a test to see whether the market for such space vehicles exists," explains the DLR researcher. The SpaceLiner is not intended for short flights in space, but for transporting passengers and goods in point-to-point travel over large intercontinental distances, and is to be principally privately financed, as normal flight is today.

This is a long-term vision, according to Sippel, that will not start to happen before 2050. "We want to acquire a new, big market for spaceflight technology and so significantly reduce the costs for transporting satellites into space."

.


Related Links
DLR
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ROCKET SCIENCE
Hat Trick for X-37B
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Dec 12, 2012
The third launch of the US Air Force's X-37B robot spaceplane opens new challenges to this robust spacecraft. For the first time, an X-37B mission is underway with a used vehicle. The spaceplane that's now in orbit flew the first X-37B mission in 2010, and already had more than 224 days of flight time before its second launch. Few observers would doubt that the vehicle can survive a lot lo ... read more


ROCKET SCIENCE
Arctic town eyes future as Europe's gateway to space

ISRO planning 10 space missions in 2013

Russia works to fix satellite's off-target orbit

ULA Launch Monopoly to End

ROCKET SCIENCE
Curious About Life: Interview with Darby Dyer

Opportunity Checking Out Some Rocks At Matijevic Hill

Curiosity Rover Nearing Yellowknife Bay

Charitum Montes: a cratered winter wonderland

ROCKET SCIENCE
GRAIL Lunar Impact Site Named for Astronaut Sally Ride

NASA probes crash into the moon

No plans of sending an Indian on moon

Rocket Burn Sets Stage for Dynamic Moon Duos' Lunar Impact

ROCKET SCIENCE
Halfway Between Uranus and Neptune, New Horizons Cruises On

Dwarf planet Makemake lacks atmosphere

Keck Observations Bring Weather Of Uranus Into Sharp Focus

At Pluto, Moons and Debris May Be Hazardous to New Horizons Spacecraft During Flyby

ROCKET SCIENCE
Astronomers discover and 'weigh' infant solar system

Search for Life Suggests Solar Systems More Habitable than Ours

Do missing Jupiters mean massive comet belts?

Brown Dwarfs May Grow Rocky Planets

ROCKET SCIENCE
Hat Trick for X-37B

Fast20XX research project - ideas for travelling at hypersonic speed

US sends futuristic plane back into space

North Korea launches long-range rocket

ROCKET SCIENCE
Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

China to launch manned spacecraft

Tiangong 1 Parked And Waiting As Shenzhou 10 Mission Prep Continues

ROCKET SCIENCE
China Makes First Asteroid Fly By

Asteroid Toutatis Slowly Tumbles by Earth

Big Asteroid Tumbles Harmlessly Past Earth

Student Team Provides Real-Time Video of Asteroid Toutatis




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement