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PB666

IXV, Esa experimental crew return system

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It's not for crew, it's a prototype for the PRIDE orbital test platform. Similar to X-37.

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I see possibilities with the drag/flaps in that they might have improved descent control, the object would be to keep the vehicle as high as possible while lowering horizontal speed over the ground. This could have a number of advantages.

Edited by PB666

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Why would you want to use a lifting body on Mars ?

To slow down somewhat more. NASA have considered lifting body aeroshells too I think.

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It's not for crew, it's a prototype for the PRIDE orbital test platform. Similar to X-37.

Which will do exactly the same thing as X-37 was intended to do, which is get and return satellites from orbit.

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Which will do exactly the same thing as X-37 was intended to do, which is get and return satellites from orbit.

That would make no sense. The X-37 launches on top of an Atlas V. Using it to launch satellites would make it the most expensive and overengineered payload fairing in the world. Basically, you'd be using an Atlas V to launch a micro-satellite just so that you can get the fairing back.

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For landing obscene amounts of heavy cargo

I didn't think I would need to elaborate. Let me rephrase: Why would you want to use a lifting body on a planet with barely any atmosphere. Lifting bodies are already marginal on Earth, and Mars' atmospheric pressure is 1% of Earth's. It wouldn't glide, it would fall like a brick.

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That would make no sense. The X-37 launches on top of an Atlas V. Using it to launch satellites would make it the most expensive and overengineered payload fairing in the world. Basically, you'd be using an Atlas V to launch a micro-satellite just so that you can get the fairing back.

I'm pretty sure he said that it was intended for retrieving satellites from orbit.

Considering that it was an airforce project, it could be used against enemy spy satellites, bringing them back so they can be analyzed.

Or it could simply be bringing the satellite down so as to take it out of commission in a way that creates no debris.

Edited by jfull

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Which will do exactly the same thing as X-37 was intended to do, which is get and return satellites from orbit.

Neither X-37 or PRIDE were intended or built to do that, they're both too small. X-37 is a relatively responsive (compared to full demonstration satellites) platform for hosted payloads, and PRIDE is intended for the same plus demo satellite servicing.

Considering that it was an airforce project, it could be used against enemy spy satellites, bringing them back so they can be analyzed.

Even if we ignore the fact that the X-37B cargo bay is far smaller than most Russian or Chinese military satellites, it'd be impossible to build a proper capture cradle or keep the vehicle CoM within acceptable bound without already having huge amounts of info on the target.

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I didn't think I would need to elaborate. Let me rephrase: Why would you want to use a lifting body on a planet with barely any atmosphere. Lifting bodies are already marginal on Earth, and Mars' atmospheric pressure is 1% of Earth's. It wouldn't glide, it would fall like a brick.

Well, if marginal means you can fly wingless aircraft, sure. And at reentry velocities there will be plenty of lift (not necessarily to be used to slow stuff down, but probably for cross-range maneuvering, ie: landing where you want to instead of aiming for a "general area")

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