Saturday, February 12, 2011

USSF Lander?

Interesting tidbit from the Hidden Frontier: the old USSF lander design has surfaced, with a plausible cover story.

That's all I've time for this morning! Off to the Skunk Works.


Tim D said...

And there I was expecting something like one of the "flying bathtub" lifting bodies for reentry vehicles.

Tim D

Retardo said...

It's cool (especially the closing image of the crew's kids at the galley snack machine), but not as cool as Project Pluto.

warlocketx said...

The landers used by USSF up to adoption of the miniaturized 'drive bear a strong resemblance to the LRV, but a close examination reveals that they have a much larger aspect ratio and other aerodynamic details.

In fact, only two of the first pattern were ever built. One was, as the story implies/infers, lost over Australia in a demonstration that the yaw instability inherent in that configuration (as well as flying wings a la Northrop) does not mix well at all with hypergolic fuels. The second burned up on re-entry over the Pacific in an approach to Vandenburg -- re-entry protocols using all-metal vehicles require the "skip" technique to allow the vehicle to cool as speed is lost, and the best guess is that some irregularity in the surface forced the vehicle to take too big a bite of atmosphere. It's also possible that the pilot misjudged how deep to go, out of "get-home-itis". Since none of the wreckage was recoverable with the technology of the day, no definitive answer is possible, but Tim D's instincts are good: the real landers were derived from the Dyna-Soar lifting body research, rather than the "saucer" approach.

One result of the failures was to discredit the designers at North American, who were then relegated to the disinformation campaign, "space shuttle" phase.

RobertSlaughter said...

I feel like I'm walking into the middle of a conversation -- the PM article is about the LRV, so what is the speculation about this USSF lander, and how does it differ from the LRV?

Roberta X said...

You feel that way because you did! The U.S. Space Force is from this. They show up over there pretty often, in fact.