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Subject: World's largest airplane rss

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Shawn Fox
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http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/31/us/worlds-largest-airplane-rol...

So Paul Allen just rolled out the largest airplane ever built. It hasn't been flown yet, but the basic idea is that the airplane would be used to reduce the launch cost of rockets by flying them high up in the atmosphere and then releasing the rocket like a bomb and air launching it. SpaceX is trying to solve the problem of getting rockets off the ground cheaply by designing a reusable first stage whereas Paul Allen's company is doing it by replacing the first stage with an airplane.

It will be interesting to see how well it works out, although the airplane launch method seems to be limited to launching much smaller rockets than SpaceX, so really it only competes on launching smaller satellites, and perhaps space tourism.
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David Dearlove
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sfox wrote:
http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/31/us/worlds-largest-airplane-rol...

So Paul Allen just rolled out the largest airplane ever built. It hasn't been flown yet, but the basic idea is that the airplane would be used to reduce the launch cost of rockets by flying them high up in the atmosphere and then releasing the rocket like a bomb and air launching it. SpaceX is trying to solve the problem of getting rockets off the ground cheaply by designing a reusable first stage whereas Paul Allen's company is doing it by replacing the first stage with an airplane.

It will be interesting to see how well it works out, although the airplane launch method seems to be limited to launching much smaller rockets than SpaceX, so really it only competes on launching smaller satellites, and perhaps space tourism.

Interesting aircraft. Only the largest by wingspan of course. You get altitude but not velocity launching that way. I am not sure what the launch altitude is but the speed will only be about 550 knots.
The privatisation of space launch is definitely giving us some interesting approaches. I expect air breathing/LOX hybrid ramjets will be the next step as you can get hypersonic velocities. Mind you they've been predicted all my adult life. HOTOL must have been 20 years ago.
 
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My god, I hope that center wing spar is strong! I'm just imagining the stresses induced by those twin fuselages. That's an impressive piece of aeronautical engineering.
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Khalid Shabazz
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desertfox2004 wrote:
My god, I hope that center wing spar is strong! I'm just imagining the stresses induced by those twin fuselages. That's an impressive piece of aeronautical engineering.

The twin-fuselage itself is more than 70 years old, but of course not realized at this size.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_F-82_Twin_Musta...

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DavidDearlove wrote:

The privatisation of space launch is definitely giving us some interesting approaches. I expect air breathing/LOX hybrid ramjets will be the next step as you can get hypersonic velocities. Mind you they've been predicted all my adult life. HOTOL must have been 20 years ago.


I predict balloons.
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crescent_gamer wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
My god, I hope that center wing spar is strong! I'm just imagining the stresses induced by those twin fuselages. That's an impressive piece of aeronautical engineering.

The twin-fuselage itself is more than 70 years old, but of course not realized at this size.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_F-82_Twin_Musta...



Hi - yeah, I was aware of the twin Mustang, but even there, the fuselages were not as long in proportion to the wing, and the wing was thicker in proportion to the fuselages. Additionally, the twin Mustang also had a connection between the tail fins to help stabilize the fuselages, something the Stratolauncher does not. I know that today's composite carbon fiber materials are very strong, but it still looks so fragile!
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desertfox2004 wrote:
Hi - yeah, I was aware of the twin Mustang, but even there, the fuselages were not as long in proportion to the wing, and the wing was thicker in proportion to the fuselages. Additionally, the twin Mustang also had a connection between the tail fins to help stabilize the fuselages, something the Stratolauncher does not. I know that today's composite carbon fiber materials are very strong, but it still looks so fragile!

I guess the Nazis' twin aircraft comes a little closer:

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crescent_gamer wrote:
I guess the Nazis' twin aircraft comes a little closer:

Obvious Nazi Photoshopping...
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The Royal Navy was flying the Sea Vixen with a partial twin body until (according to Wikipedia) 1972. (I've seen them at an air show, pre-retirement. Slightly younger than I would have guessed based on that date.)
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David Dearlove
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Dearlove wrote:
The Royal Navy was flying the Sea Vixen with a partial twin body until (according to Wikipedia) 1972. (I've seen them at an air show, pre-retirement. Slightly younger than I would have guessed based on that date.)

But that had a conventional cockpit and a twin boom tail. That was to give the jet engine a nice simple exhaust with the engine at the centre of gravity. Britain led world briefly in jet aircraft in the 1950s. We even sold the Canberra to the USA.
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FWIW, the plane is said to use 747 engines which are fanjets--jet powered ducted fans, as pretty much all commercial airliners. That, IIRC, says its not going faster then about 0.85 mach. Then the wings seem much straighter than a commercial airline, which suggests even slower speeds or operating much higher, in lower air pressure. In a sense, maybe what we've got here is an extremely heavy lift U-2.
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For a split second my mind translated that as saying each single plane of this type used seven hundred forty seven individual engines working in conjunction.
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sfox wrote:
It will be interesting to see how well it works out, although the airplane launch method seems to be limited to launching much smaller rockets than SpaceX, so really it only competes on launching smaller satellites, and perhaps space tourism.
From the article, it seems as though launch would occur at normal airliner cruise altitude and the plane has a capacity for 500,000 pounds. Since there are modules on the Space Station that are 25-50,000 pounds, that leaves upwards of 450,000 lbs for the delivery vehicle and fuel to take it from that altitude to LEO. I'm not a rocket scientist, but I'm totally guessing that you could get fairly decent sized satellites up with that.

EDIT: In fact, Space X's Falcon9 has a payload to LEO of 50,0000 pounds. The vehicle itself weighs 1.2 million lbs to do that from the surface, so the difference is, how much mass in fuel is used by the Falcon9 to get to airliner cruise altitude and how much it uses to LEO? http://www.spacex.com/falcon9
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TheChin! wrote:
EDIT: In fact, Space X's Falcon9 has a payload to LEO of 50,0000 pounds. The vehicle itself weighs 1.2 million lbs to do that from the surface, so the difference is, how much mass in fuel is used by the Falcon9 to get to airliner cruise altitude and how much it uses to LEO? http://www.spacex.com/falcon9

It's not altitude as much as orbital speed. At that speed, altitude doesn't matter much. But, what you save is going through the densest parts of the atmosphere. If you recall, the Space Shuttle had to throttle down when at the point of maximum speed and drag, then it throttled up again.
 
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