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Ivan Bilic
2014-Jun-12, 01:09 AM
If built, it would be beautifoul succesor to Space Shuttle. One pice orbiter, without external tanks that would have been droped after takeoff. It would land on runaway like Shuttle did. After that inspected and serviced in hangar like airplane. And there were no complication with external fuel tanks and solid fuel additional boosters when preparing it for another takeoff. It would be second generation Space Shuttle.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/VentureStar
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2006/01/x-33venturestar-what-really-happened/

docmordrid
2014-Jun-12, 06:50 AM
Like all space planes it's mass inefficient, regardless how pretty they are. Besides that they couldn't get the aerospike engines to work to the required specs and the composite tanks failed. A short while later the tank issue was resolved, but not the engines.

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Garrison
2014-Jun-12, 01:28 PM
Like all space planes it's mass inefficient, regardless how pretty they are. Besides that they couldn't get the aerospike engines to work to the required specs and the composite tanks failed. A short while later the tank issue was resolved, but not the engines.

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If you are talking about a spaceplane with pure rocket power then certainly true but something like Skylon (http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/space_skylon.html)should be able to do better. Will it be enough better to justify the cost? Jury is still out on that.

joema
2014-Jun-13, 11:25 PM
If built, it would be beautifoul succesor to Space Shuttle....

Venture Star was planned to primarily be an unmanned robotic vehicle. If successful, it might have later carried a pressurized payload module with humans as cargo. It would never have been a piloted vehicle as the shuttle.

cjameshuff
2014-Jun-14, 01:37 AM
Like all space planes it's mass inefficient, regardless how pretty they are. Besides that they couldn't get the aerospike engines to work to the required specs and the composite tanks failed. A short while later the tank issue was resolved, but not the engines.

It wasn't just a space plane, it was SSTO as well, and thus vastly less efficient than staged rockets. A SSTO spaceplane combines the worst of both worlds, with much of the limited payload of a SSTO eaten up by the additional structural mass that comes with being a spaceplane.

The composite tanks were also politically mandated, as I recall, alternative aluminum tanks were actually lighter. Tanks with a simpler geometry would have been even lighter, the multi-lobed tank geometry was just a bad idea even if they did finally get a tank to pass testing. I don't recall hearing of any specific issues with the aerospike engines, but the basic approach has cooling, propellant injection, and mass problems, and is primarily of interest for SSTO vehicles.

publiusr
2014-Jun-14, 04:38 PM
This contraption should have gotten all the hate that the conventional build SLS gets now.

I remember the evolution of Venture Star. First, an internal payload bay--then the hump--and then stubby wings added to it and a payload pod--no internal capacity at all. It quickly became nothing more than a very expensive first stage. Same with SLI. Concepts came along like the Boeing bimese EELV replacement--also a very expensive route to existing size payloads.

For awhile advocates of shuttle-derived heavy lift were on the outside looking in--unable to convince folks to get off the obsession with wings. When SD-HLV advocates finally had their long deserved day in the sun--THAT'S when everyone's fangs came out. Unfair.