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  • Fire in the sky: the Air Launched Sortie Vehicle of the early 1980s (part 3)

    03/23/2010 8:59:09 PM PDT · by ErnstStavroBlofeld · 4 replies · 486+ views
    The Space Review ^ | 3/23/2010 | Dwayne Day
    A few years ago a company by the name of AirLaunch had a novel idea for a rocket—put it in a C-17 cargo plane and then slide it out the back at high altitude. The rocket would rotate until it was vertical and then fire, heading into orbit. You can watch video of the drop tests. “We examined a wide variety of propellants ranging from storable hypergolics, RP/LOX, to fluorine/deuterium.” That may sound exotic, but Ehrlich joked that “this was a paper study!” Now imagine that instead of a relatively small rocket, there was a much larger rocket, with a...
  • Fire in the sky: the Air Launched Sortie Vehicle of the early 1980s (part 2)

    03/08/2010 11:38:45 PM PST · by ErnstStavroBlofeld · 16 replies · 782+ views
    Space Review ^ | 3/8/2010 | Dwayne Day
    Many things remain murky about the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory’s sponsorship of an effort starting in 1980 to study the possibility of launching a spaceplane off the back of a 747. AFRPL was located at Edwards Air Force Base and in early December of that year, an AFRPL engineer named Don Hart produced a several page description of what such a vehicle might look like and might be capable of doing. (See: “Fire in the sky: the Air Launched Sortie Vehicle of the early 1980s (part 1)”, The Space Review, February 22, 2010) Very quickly at least one contractor...