Friday, April 09, 2010

Space Access 2010 - DC-X, High-Alpha and the Continued Quest for the VTVL Spaceplane/Bill Gaubatz, Layne Cook

Bill Gaubatz started off giving a brief history of the DC-X, and DC-X/A. It was 42 feet tall, about 41,000 pounds at take off. Flew 12 times. Had one unsuccessful landing. They had a goal of eight hour turn around time. They broke that several times. Operated in a variety of weather. They were trying to get into an airplane like environment. The DC-X became a flying test bed for new technologies. Bill reviewed a number of technologies developed and/or tested with the DC-X.

Partly successful because stayed focused and had small management teams on both the industry side and the government side. Good to be in a cycle of design a little, test a little, and learn a lot.

There were plans for follow on programs, but they didn’t work out.

Layne Cook focused on a proposal for the next-generation DC-X. Initially the plan from DC-X would flew in with nose first, and then do a rotation before landing. Then looked at coming in with a high angle of attack and then doesn’t have to rotate as much.

The space shuttle takes off like a rocket and lands like a plane. Layne explored some of the benefits of acting like a rocket for the whole flight.

The full agenda for Space Access 2010, with links

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