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

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Thu Feb 12 06:11:25 UTC 2015

On Wed, Feb 11, 2015 at 1:32 AM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
> >…Spike, isn't this a neat idea? :)  Rafał
> Ja!  I like the notion of an air-breathing first stage if there is any way
> to get that done.  Reason: a lot of structural design weight is in handling
> the aerodynamic loads of supersonic flight while still fairly low in the
> atmosphere.  If we could work out a means of climbing out at a leisurely
> couple hundred knots, then accelerating on up to just below Mach 1 when you
> get up around 0.2-ish atmospheres, you get to save weight in structure, in
> the nose radome, and so forth.

### OK, so no launch gantry - instead a White Knight on steroids, huge
jet-propelled carrier engineered for reaching maximum feasible flight
height and speed, probably a delta-winged monstrosity bristling with
engines, requiring a huge runway but capable of going well into the
stratosphere supersonically while loaded with a B-52's worth of cargo.
Then, you release the spaceship, with the wobbly two-wall bladder (for fuel
and oxidiser) and the rocket engines with clever high-speed throttles and
dampers that counteract the wobbles in the bladder and the load-bearing
wing to which all is attached, and presto, you are in space!

Or imagine this - the fuel bladder is towed on a short umbilical. Have you
seen these toy rockets with an attached stick? The stick stabilizes the
rocket, and a fuel bladder in tow could wobble more than a rigidly attached
fuel bladder, with less impact on the engines.

The reason why I am thinking about single-use fuel bladders is that I know
about the single-use cell culture bags used by biotech companies - they are
capable of growing huge volumes of cells using a much smaller amount of
plastic, compared to standard bioreactors. Cross-fertilization of

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