Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

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Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

Postby BlackHatSupport » Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:29 pm UTC

Tech challenge -

Design a dropship/landing craft that goes, one way (but reuseable) from an orbiting vessel to a planetary surface.

Assume Earth conditions, i.e.
Atmospheric heating, orbital velocity, altitude, and the whole 9 yards.

Remember, one way reuseable transport.
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Re: Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

Postby Kang » Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:44 pm UTC

Start with a Mercury capsule, enlarge it slightly, move the retro pack from behind the heat shield to the front compartment; you can make the room by putting the parachute assembly on the side with a larger landing bag on the other side. Basically your are done.
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Re: Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

Postby Soralin » Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:16 pm UTC

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Re: Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

Postby Kang » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:20 pm UTC

Does it make its deorbit burn using the RCS thrusters?
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Re: Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

Postby HopDavid » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:53 pm UTC

BlackHatSupport wrote:Tech challenge -

Design a dropship/landing craft that goes, one way (but reuseable) from an orbiting vessel to a planetary surface.

Assume Earth conditions, i.e.
Atmospheric heating, orbital velocity, altitude, and the whole 9 yards.

Remember, one way reuseable transport.


One way reusable?

How can a lander be reused if it doesn't make the ascent back to orbit?
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Re: Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

Postby Soralin » Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:11 pm UTC

Kang wrote:Does it make its deorbit burn using the RCS thrusters?

I think so, I don't see anything else listed that would generate thrust, just the 18 Draco engines.

Also note that the first Dragon that went up came back down by parachute. The one in the video making a powered landing is a planned upgrade, that would work both as a launch-abort system, and for powered landings.
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Re: Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

Postby nitePhyyre » Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:14 am UTC

HopDavid wrote:One way reusable?

How can a lander be reused if it doesn't make the ascent back to orbit?
The sent me for a loop for a second also.
I guess if you wanted to drop off cargo and colonists, then colonize and pick up the pods once there is enough industry to send them out again. That or Orbital Drop Shock Troopers.
Although I think disposable might be a better way to go.
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Re: Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:49 am UTC

even better than disposable, recyclable, as in, the drop ships can be or are specifically designed to be repurposed as shelters, or have the materials easily recovered.
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Re: Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

Postby idobox » Fri Oct 28, 2011 11:40 am UTC

HopDavid wrote:One way reusable?

How can a lander be reused if it doesn't make the ascent back to orbit?


I imagine something like return vehicle for the ISS or something, that can be put in a rocket and sent to orbit again.
I suppose a soyouz with a thicker heat shield could do the trick.
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Re: Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

Postby Roĝer » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:36 am UTC

The main problem seems to be the wear that the heat shield experiences. How about an ablative heat shield made out of some kind of fluid, such as oil or water? That way you only have to refill a small tank instead of replacing the heat shield every few orbit drops.
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Re: Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

Postby SlyReaper » Sat Oct 29, 2011 1:24 pm UTC

HopDavid wrote:
BlackHatSupport wrote:Tech challenge -

Design a dropship/landing craft that goes, one way (but reuseable) from an orbiting vessel to a planetary surface.

Assume Earth conditions, i.e.
Atmospheric heating, orbital velocity, altitude, and the whole 9 yards.

Remember, one way reuseable transport.


One way reusable?

How can a lander be reused if it doesn't make the ascent back to orbit?


By plonking it on top of a rocket. The rocket parts aren't reusable, but there's no reason the command capsule can't be.
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Re: Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

Postby Roĝer » Mon Oct 31, 2011 8:51 pm UTC

Or you could ride it up your space elevator, or put it into your launch loop. Or retrieve it by transport plane after your orbital shock troops have secured the area (now that's an awesome way of worldwide rapid deployment!).
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Re: Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

Postby HopDavid » Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:11 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:
HopDavid wrote:One way reusable?

How can a lander be reused if it doesn't make the ascent back to orbit?


By plonking it on top of a rocket. The rocket parts aren't reusable, but there's no reason the command capsule can't be.


Oh, okay.

SpaceX recovered Dragon. If they successfully send it back up, this will have been demonstrated.
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Re: Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

Postby BlackHatSupport » Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:54 pm UTC

Great ideas, everyone. And by "reuseable" I mean it can be pulled off the planet after it's been dropped and when it's secure, either as a colony supply drop or ODST-style insertion.

Now the other challenge -Same thing but with the ability to return to orbit after drop.
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Re: Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

Postby Roĝer » Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:59 pm UTC

Now that's easy - just add a spring to the bottom, and your craft will bounce right off the surface with the same speed as it arrived, right?
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Re: Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

Postby SlyReaper » Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:15 pm UTC

BlackHatSupport wrote:Great ideas, everyone. And by "reuseable" I mean it can be pulled off the planet after it's been dropped and when it's secure, either as a colony supply drop or ODST-style insertion.

Now the other challenge -Same thing but with the ability to return to orbit after drop.


This.

Single-stage-to-orbit, so a completely reusable space vehicle. The engine is designed to act as an air breathing jet engine up to mach 5.5, after which the air inlets close and it acts as a normal liquid fuel rocket engine up to orbital speed (which is about mach 25). This initial "free" boost reduces the required weight of the fuel. The aerodynamic properties of the thing mean it'll descend through the atmosphere more slowly than a space shuttle, which means the heat shielding doesn't need to be as heavy. It also uses left-over fuel as coolant for the parts exposed to the most heat.

It's a very exciting design which will of course never see the light of day because eventually someone will decide it's too expensive.
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Re: Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

Postby Roĝer » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:10 pm UTC

Wow, even if that doesn't become reality, it would be an awesome plot device for near science fiction stories.
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Re: Orbit-Surface Landing Craft

Postby HopDavid » Sat Nov 05, 2011 10:14 pm UTC

Roĝer wrote:Wow, even if that doesn't become reality, it would be an awesome plot device for near science fiction stories.


The Next Continent by Issui Ogawa uses something like Skylon. I highly recommend this book. Perhaps optimistic hard science fiction has fallen out of fashion in the english speaking world, but it's going strong in Asia!
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