[ExI] darpa's notion of using a retrofitted fighter jet to launch payloads

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Wed Feb 11 05:39:44 UTC 2015

On Mon, Feb 9, 2015 at 3:10 PM, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:

> The rocket's design is also unusual, mounting four engines just below
> the payload on the vehicle. The engines are used for the first and
> second stages of the rocket, with propellant tanks below the engines
> dropping away when exhausted. This approach avoids the expense and
> complexity of separate sets of engines for the first two stages.

### Interesting. Imagine a bladder made of sturdy carbon-fiber foil,
suspended from a wing-shaped bar with attached rocket engines and with
payload on top. During launch the bladder is being pulled rather than
squished, and we all know that tensile strength of long and thin objects is
amazing compared to their compressive strength. So the bladder would have a
tiny weight compared to a stiff fuel tank of the same capacity.

The vehicle would be suspended from a gantry for launch, its bladder almost
touching the ground. The massive booster engines would run at full power
all the way to LE orbit. Bladder would be jettisoned and promptly burn up
on re-entry. Engines and their wing glide to an unpowered landing and the
payload capsule flies wherever it's supposed to.

Spike, isn't this a neat idea? :)

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