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X-37B


Kerbal01
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See? That's why i'm still bummed Dream Chaser wasn't picked up by NASA. I mean - reusability is a hot word today. Capsules are great and all that - but in the end they are still cans dropping to the surface, bringing spam back from space. They are not flying, they can hardly maneuver or pick their landng spot. A spaceplane like X-37 or Dream Chaser can land on any runway that is able to accomodate commercial airliner. If one is unavailable, it can skip to another in range at crew's discretion. It gives us control. And more options. With a capsule it's "Hit the atmo, and pray chutes will pop in time." Or retro-rockets in case of new Dragon. Why a spaceplane is good enough for sensitive, secret military stuff but not for human travel to space and back?

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2 minutes ago, DustInTheWind said:

What I really want to know about the X-37 is how it offsets the apparent misalignment of its main engine center of thrust with its apparent center of mass...

Not sure what you mean

Spoiler

Image result for x-37b

 

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33 minutes ago, Scotius said:

See? That's why i'm still bummed Dream Chaser wasn't picked up by NASA. I mean - reusability is a hot word today. Capsules are great and all that - but in the end they are still cans dropping to the surface, bringing spam back from space. They are not flying, they can hardly maneuver or pick their landng spot. A spaceplane like X-37 or Dream Chaser can land on any runway that is able to accomodate commercial airliner. If one is unavailable, it can skip to another in range at crew's discretion. It gives us control. And more options. With a capsule it's "Hit the atmo, and pray chutes will pop in time." Or retro-rockets in case of new Dragon. Why a spaceplane is good enough for sensitive, secret military stuff but not for human travel to space and back?

If it is a PSTO then abort is harder/more dangerous than on a standard capsule design. And if it is launched inline at the top of the rocket, the launcher needs big fins at the bottom for stability. Not sure how much of a problem stability would be. Also, in a way, a shuttle/winged lander design is less versatile in landing, because it needs a runway. If a wing breaks or control surface fails, then you have no way to land safely really. It is much easier to have redundant systems with a capsule, I think. And I'm pretty sure a cabin ejection wouldn't be viable. The only way to go would be egression, if the speed is slow enough.

5 minutes ago, DustInTheWind said:

Here is a picture of the actual orbital vehicle after landing:
Engine not inline with CoM.

And another angle

Now that is strange...intense google searching in progress

EDIT: Found this reddit thread

 

Edited by Skylon
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1 hour ago, DustInTheWind said:

Here is a picture of the actual orbital vehicle after landing:
Engine not inline with CoM.

Is I the only one who see two weird things here.
2) the off center engine 
1) the guy with a reflex vest as only protection behind the others with hazmat suits and bottled air :)
Yes he is probably in another organisation, airport rater than the X37 team. 

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14 minutes ago, magnemoe said:

1) the guy with a reflex vest as only protection behind the others with hazmat suits and bottled air :)
Yes he is probably in another organisation, airport rater than the X37 team. 

He's handling a camera. It's obviously a film set. Illuminati confirmed. The hazmat guys are reptilians that came down in the X37 and still haven't had a chance to posses a human body.

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11 hours ago, Shpaget said:

He's handling a camera. It's obviously a film set. Illuminati confirmed. The hazmat guys are reptilians that came down in the X37 and still haven't had a chance to posses a human body.

I was just going to say he's probably a lot further away than the looks due to foreshortening, but I like this idea better

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16 hours ago, Scotius said:

Why a spaceplane is good enough for sensitive, secret military stuff but not for human travel to space and back?

I suspect, this thing is actually less safe than a capsule overall. For a capsule with parachute/retrorockets, it doesn't matter a whole lot where it's going to land, so long as the chosen braking mechanism works. It's a single point of failure that can be made sufficiently redundant, and you pick your landing spot in advance. Military might be a lot more picky about ability to change landing location at the last moment. I mean, if you were going to land a squad of spec-ops on a friendly airport to help conduct a clandestine operation, and suddenly that airport is no longer so friendly, you might not want to deliver your secret hardware and men to the enemy.

If the above means that you are more likely to suffer a heat shield failure, over-g on landing, landing gear issue, or some other mishap, then it's an acceptable compromise. Loss of crew during military operation isn't going to be a PR disaster for the military. It's just loss of money invested in hardware and training for them.

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2 minutes ago, K^2 said:

I suspect, this thing is actually less safe than a capsule overall. For a capsule with parachute/retrorockets, it doesn't matter a whole lot where it's going to land, so long as the chosen braking mechanism works. It's a single point of failure that can be made sufficiently redundant, and you pick your landing spot in advance. Military might be a lot more picky about ability to change landing location at the last moment. I mean, if you were going to land a squad of spec-ops on a friendly airport to help conduct a clandestine operation, and suddenly that airport is no longer so friendly, you might not want to deliver your secret hardware and men to the enemy.

If the above means that you are more likely to suffer a heat shield failure, over-g on landing, landing gear issue, or some other mishap, then it's an acceptable compromise. Loss of crew during military operation isn't going to be a PR disaster for the military. It's just loss of money invested in hardware and training for them.

This an spaceplane design give an more gentle reentry and landing, you get cross range and land on an runway. 
Downside is more failure points, an capsule is pretty idiot proof. 
 

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On 5/7/2017 at 10:35 PM, Scotius said:

Why a spaceplane is good enough for sensitive, secret military stuff but not for human travel to space and back?

Because this particular spaceplane has not been built for human travel to space and back. STS, Buran yes but not the X-37B. Also keep in mind that Boeing has floated the idea of an enlarged version with capability for 6 crew/passengers. No-one just has found the need for it - current and upcoming capsules handle crew rotations to ISS just as well and whatever the military does they don't need, probably don't even want people near that secret stuff.

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On 5/7/2017 at 1:07 PM, Skylon said:

If it is a PSTO then abort is harder/more dangerous than on a standard capsule design. And if it is launched inline at the top of the rocket, the launcher needs big fins at the bottom for stability. Not sure how much of a problem stability would be. Also, in a way, a shuttle/winged lander design is less versatile in landing, because it needs a runway. If a wing breaks or control surface fails, then you have no way to land safely really. It is much easier to have redundant systems with a capsule, I think. And I'm pretty sure a cabin ejection wouldn't be viable. The only way to go would be egression, if the speed is slow enough.

If you have a major structural failure with a capsule, I doubt it is actually any more redundant.

On 5/7/2017 at 2:30 PM, magnemoe said:

Is I the only one who see two weird things here.
2) the off center engine 
1) the guy with a reflex vest as only protection behind the others with hazmat suits and bottled air :)
Yes he is probably in another organisation, airport rater than the X37 team. 

You mean the guy who is outside of the area marked off by cones versus the guys who are inside that same area?

On 5/8/2017 at 5:25 AM, K^2 said:

If the above means that you are more likely to suffer a heat shield failure, over-g on landing, landing gear issue, or some other mishap, then it's an acceptable compromise. Loss of crew during military operation isn't going to be a PR disaster for the military. It's just loss of money invested in hardware and training for them.

Jeez, I sure hope you aren't in the military. I don't know any person in the military who considers a loss of personnel as nothing more than a "loss of money invested in hardware and training for them".

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7 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

Jeez, I sure hope you aren't in the military. I don't know any person in the military who considers a loss of personnel as nothing more than a "loss of money invested in hardware and training for them".

I don't think it was meant in that way, I think it was more of a "unlike for NASA, the military lose personnel in training accidents and on operations relatively frequently, so the PR wouldn't be as bad for them". That's not to say that any individual in the military thinks like that, but the organisation as a whole does.

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On 5/7/2017 at 0:56 PM, DustInTheWind said:

What I really want to know about the X-37 is how it offsets the apparent misalignment of its main engine center of thrust with its apparent center of mass...

My guess is there's a heavy payload offset to the right.  So the thrust vector goes right through the CoM.

 

10 hours ago, Toonu said:

I know its whole secret, but how much ∆V it could have with its size? Just speculating what it can done... Oh...now I see we have no data about Isp and engine and weight :/

Probably enough to raise and lower its orbit and de-orbit.  It ain't an SSTO.  It's launched on an Atlas V first stage, and achieves orbit with a Centaur 2nd stage.  

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10 hours ago, Toonu said:

I know its whole secret, but how much ∆V it could have with its size? Just speculating what it can done... Oh...now I see we have no data about Isp and engine and weight :/

We know from sat observers that it doesn't manoeuvre much in practice.

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11 hours ago, Soda Popinski said:

My guess is there's a heavy payload offset to the right.  So the thrust vector goes right through the CoM.

 

Probably enough to raise and lower its orbit and de-orbit.  It ain't an SSTO.  It's launched on an Atlas V first stage, and achieves orbit with a Centaur 2nd stage.  
 

 

11 hours ago, Kryten said:

We know from sat observers that it doesn't manoeuvre much in practice.

Yeah, I know it's not SSTO. But I thinked how muchit can maneuver through...or if it can go to some bigger distance (GSO) and so on...

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38 minutes ago, Toonu said:

 

Yeah, I know it's not SSTO. But I thinked how muchit can maneuver through...or if it can go to some bigger distance (GSO) and so on...

Only figure out there seems to be 3.1 km/s from Spaceflight now. It could have changed by any number since "early concepts" though and mass of the payload of course has its effect too. Not to mention what load that unnamed official was referring to - empty ship or heavy payload?

Quote

Early X-37 concepts called for a propulsion system capable of changing the spacecraft's velocity by nearly 7,000 mph. The space plane is designed to fly at altitudes between 110 and 500 nautical miles, or 126 to 575 statute miles, an Air Force spokesperson told Spaceflight Now.

I am trusting Wikipedia (where I found the link) for the math from 7000mph to 3100m/s.

Link: https://spaceflightnow.com/atlas/av012/100402x37update/

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15 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

Jeez, I sure hope you aren't in the military. I don't know any person in the military who considers a loss of personnel as nothing more than a "loss of money invested in hardware and training for them".

Take a look at operational history of V-22 Osprey and similar aircraft. Personal attitudes of members of the military can vary, but the net result is the same. They accept loss of human life as part of development and operational cost of the hardware. It's not even wrong. Looking at it from perspective of cold economics is preferable to loss of efficiency over misplaced sentimentality. Because however many lives are at risk at any given moment, countless more could be at stake. Treating soldiers as monetary investment, at grand command scale, is the best way to minimize loss of human life overall.

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On 08.05.2017 at 0:30 AM, magnemoe said:

1) the guy with a reflex vest as only protection behind the others with hazmat suits and bottled air :)
Yes he is probably in another organisation, airport rater than the X37 team.

Expendable crew. Hazmat cleaning would cost more than employing a new one.

Spoiler

"It's just a cameraman. We have a lot of them here".
(Death Valley series, before shooting one, bitten by a zombie)

 

On 08.05.2017 at 0:30 AM, magnemoe said:

2) the off center engine 

The plane was yawing rightward. Nobody has an idea, why.
A KSP prof suggested to move the engine a little to the right,
Now it's an ideal balance.

P.S.
Based on the hosepipe, they are pouring out the Mystery Goo after two-year exposition.

Edited by kerbiloid
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