Feeds

LOHAN eyes hardcore partner's impressive girth

Vulture 2 spaceplane needs thrust you can trust

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The dust has settled on our recent trip to International Rocket Week (IRW) and the dramatic launch of the Negligible Altitude Obstreperous Model Initiative (NAOMI) rocket, so it's time to reveal just what the assembled experts thought would be the best power plant for the Vulture 2 spaceplane.

Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphicOur primary considerations for the aircraft's power plant are minimum weight, simplicity and ease of operation. We know a lot of you favour experimental options, either hybrid or liquid fuelled, but our experience at IRW demonstrated that when it comes to a risky high-altitude launch, less is most certainly more.

The experts agreed with our initial analysis, and suggested we should select a single off-the-shelf solid fuel motor, and design the Vulture 2 around that. The idea of using multiple units was quickly binned because the consequences of one not firing are too hideous to contemplate.

Graph showing thrust/time for AeroTech motorsThe first and most obvious possibility that presented itself was the AeroTech RC 32/60-100NS - a 32mm-diameter motor specifically designed for rocket-powered gliders. Its most potent reload is a G-class insert (the G12-RCT) providing a long, steady-ish burn (see graph) which is ideal for propelling our spaceplane without tearing the bleedin' wings off.

Obviously, there are a couple of further considerations: how to make absolutely sure the motor will fire; and how will the motor perform at altitude and -60°C?

Our rocketry chums reckon a failsafe electronic trigger system is in order, with an independent back-up circuit powering a back-up igniter in case of primary ignition failure.

That makes perfect sense, but it's not a lot of use setting the thing off if it can't deliver under extreme conditions. We got in touch with AeroTech to see what they thought, and president Gary Rosenfield was kind enough to reply: "The overall motor performance will be higher, but the burn rate will be lower at the environmental conditions you quoted. Without testing, I do not know if the motor will ignite reliably at that altitude without a burst plug or other means to retain internal pressure."

Well, we like the first bit of Gary's analysis, but his concern about possible implications of lack of pressure are a bit of a worry.

Unfortunately, rocket motors aren't something they allow you to fire up in a hypobaric chamber, so we'll have to put our thinking caps on and mull this one a bit further.

To get things moving while we ponder, we've ordered an AeroTech RC 32/60-100NS to see how it measures up on the ground. Naturally, this will certainly involve a static firing test and perhaps a quick flight attached to something cheap and expendable. This is before we even consider inserting it into the Vulture 2, which will be neither of those two scenarios.

Your thoughts and suggestions are, as ever, most welcome. ®

A tip of the hat to our LOHAN associatesOpenPilot

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.