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The Saint
2005-Aug-20, 10:43 PM
Was any rocket to reach orbit larger than the Saturn V ever planned?

Is there a theoretical limit as to how large an Earth-launched rocket can be?

Is there any practical limit in height, weight and diameter?

JHotz
2005-Aug-21, 02:49 AM
Was any rocket to reach orbit larger than the Saturn V ever planned?

Is there a theoretical limit as to how large an Earth-launched rocket can be?

Is there any practical limit in height, weight and diameter?What an interesting question. Do rocket engines get more or less efficient as they get larger? Would a mile long rocket require too much structural weight? Perhaps the support facility is the limitation. Maybe a rocket dropped from a balloon could be larger than a surface launched rocket.

The Saint
2005-Aug-21, 03:38 PM
It seems that some of the Nova family exceeded the Saturn V
http://www.astronautix.com/lvfam/nova.htm
http://www.geocities.com/caryn770/novanasa.gif

Amphoteric
2005-Aug-21, 03:45 PM
Was any rocket to reach orbit larger than the Saturn V ever planned?

If you're talking of the Apollo era, The Soviets built the N1. http://www.russianspaceweb.com/n1.html

publiusr
2005-Aug-24, 05:12 PM
N-1 had more thrust--but its upper stages weren't as good--and it could only place 95 tons in LEO. Saturn placed 130-140--depending on who you talk to.

Nexus, Big Onion, MLLV and Sea Dragon were the largest non-nuclear LVs seriously considered. Sea Dragon could hurl 550 tons in LEO--just over half of what Orion could loft.

Sea Dragon would actually be an easy build. Here is a letter I wrote to :

************************************************** **********

Sea Launch Company, LLC
One World Trade Center
Suite 950
Long Beach, CA 90831, USA
paula.korn@sea-launch.com


Dear, Paula Korn

The Sea-Launch story was featured recently on MEGASTRUCTURES on National Geographic--and looks to repeat on Sept. 24 2005. I must say that I am glad that Naval infrastructure is playing an ever larger role in space launch. Communications satellites continue to grow as we see more and more of a 'chip-gap' between older tech on com-sats and faster non-space-rated machines on the ground.

The Zenit launch vehicle is very powerful--but I have a proposal whereby the asset of your company could be used to capture future exploration and tourist markets.

The vehicle I propose is Sea Dragon, as advocated by Navy man Robert Truax, whose writings can be found in Aerospace America (The Future of Earth To Orbit Propulsion, Jan 1999, p.34).

He is a great advocate of very large--but extremely simple--launch vehicles that use pressure-fed designs as advocated by a contact of mine--author of LEO ON THE CHEAP: http://www.dunnspace.com/leo_on_the_cheap.htm

I have also contacted Todd Sedler of the Submarine division of Northrup-Grumman Newport News. I sent him some information, seeing how Sea Dragon would be a perfect fit in such a shipyard--being far more easily assembled.

The following links explain exactly what the Sea Dragon concept is:

http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/searagon.htm
http://www.up-ship.com/apr/extras/seadragon/seadragon.htm
http://pub97.ezboard.com/fnuclearspacefrm13.showMessage?topicID=67.topic
http://www.spacedaily.com/news/lunar-04j.html

Please do not recoil at the size--for such a project is simple, and is actually quite small compared to Kansei, Troll, Three Gorges and other megastructures that are far more difficult to build.

In fact, the Sea Dragon concept perfectly fits Sea-Launch, in that the launch vehicle actually needs no platform--being towed out to sea to burn hydrogen and oxygen electrolysized from sea water. Truax suggested the use of an Aircraft carrier--but the large nuclear icebreakers found in the former Soviet Union would be a perfect fit--and could also be used for towing:

http://arcdev.neste.com/Vessels/IBN-Arctica.html

The Command and Control ship you already use would be the only other asset required seeing as no launch platform is needed. The former Soviet shipyards are hurting. There is talk of new submarine construction, as well as carrier replacements--but these craft are quite complicated with decks, pressure hulls, etc. and are not needed in this post-Cold War era.

Sea Dragon is but a simple tube.

Many shipworkers in the former Soviet Union do not regard their space program with the pride that accompanied Sputnik. Baikonur must be rented at great cost. But a Sea Drgon program would have to patrons, for each dollar spent on space is a dollar that goes to keep Soviet shipworkers employed. With Sea-Launch, you have shown that you are not afraid of large scale construction. With the Sea Dragon Super Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle, you would be continuing a tradition--with the vehicle far simpler than the Zenit launch platform itself.

I read a nice article in Discover magazine about the new steels and must say that I am very excited about this prospect, and how amorphus steels may play a role.

Bob Truax himself is in ill-health, and Bill Sprague is about all that is left:
www.americanastronautics.com/company/people.html
www.americanastronautics.com/company/contact.html
www.aeraspace.com

That having been said--Todd Sedler at Northrup Grumman Newport News seemed interested. NASA Chief Administrator Mike Griffin is looking for HLLV concepts, and Sea Dragon--perhaps funded by those who would give us the Burj Dubai skyscraper and the developers of THE WORLD project.

If spaceflight is to really progress--we have to get outside of the comsat box. Heavy Lift is the future: http://www.nasawatch.com/archives/2005/08/cev_launcher_tr.html


Please consider contacting the individuals I have listed above--and make this future real.
************************************************** Needless to say, some secretary intercepted the message before the engineers could get to it and sent me a rejection letter.

This is all we have to look forward to for the moment:

http://www.flightinternational.com/Articles/2005/08/23/201125/+NASA+picks+rocket+for+return+to+Moon++.html


If it were up to me--I would launch the delicate payload atop the Shuttle derived vehicle--but the tankage and fuel by Sea Dragon. If you look at the links I have in the letter--you will notice that Sea Dragon had an Apollo type capsule on top.

I would do something different. I would place an NTR in place of the Apollo capsule--with an escape tower on that NERVA type engine for aborts. The second stage would remain in orbit as a cycler segment--and the NTR would be facing 'backwards' with the solid metal nosecone of the rocket being the thrust structure. SDV HLLV payloads would dock where the second stage was linked to the original Sea Dragon first stage.

With one Earth Orbit rendevous, I have a Mars ship at the ready.

Sea Dragon could work--and could work today. But our NAVY wants to waste billions on DD X destroyers that supercavitating weapons have already made obsolete. With JSF--the Air Farce thinks it is still in MiG alley. The Navy folks still think they are at Jutland.

What is worse--Sea Dragon would be an easier build than DD X

JHotz
2005-Aug-25, 01:57 AM
N-1 had more thrust--but its upper stages weren't as good--and it could only place 95 tons in LEO. Saturn placed 130-140--depending on who you talk to.

Nexus, Big Onion, MLLV and Sea Dragon were the largest non-nuclear LVs seriously considered. Sea Dragon could hurl 550 tons in LEO--just over half of what Orion could loft.

Sea Dragon would actually be an easy build. Here is a letter I wrote to :

************************************************** **********
With one Earth Orbit rendevous, I have a Mars ship at the ready.

Sea Dragon could work--and could work today. But our NAVY wants to waste billions on DD X destroyers that supercavitating weapons have already made obsolete. With JSF--the Air Farce thinks it is still in MiG alley. The Navy folks still think they are at Jutland.

What is worse--Sea Dragon would be an easier build than DD XThanks for all the great info Publiusr

publiusr
2005-Aug-26, 07:53 PM
You are welcome.

Some other links of interest:

http://www.newmars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2562

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=310&start=1


From the web:

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http://www.axeman3d.com/models2.htm

publiusr
2005-Sep-07, 05:05 PM
Over at www.astronautix.com are some nice links to the OTRAG program--I just noticed a super-cluster HLLV there.

Damburger
2005-Sep-07, 05:11 PM
N-1 had more thrust--but its upper stages weren't as good--and it could only place 95 tons in LEO. Saturn placed 130-140--depending on who you talk to.

Not technically true - N1 could barely haul its arse off the launchpad. There was never a succesful launch of the vehicle, althought the designers believed at the time it was cancelled that the next lauch it would've worked.

publiusr
2005-Sep-07, 06:45 PM
I saw the footage--N-1 got off the pad pretty fast with its 30 or so engines. Take a look at Mark Wade's site--and you will see that in fact it did have greater liftoff thrust. Not as efficent as Saturn V--but still ranks ahead of it in terms of sea level thrust.

Damburger
2005-Sep-07, 06:59 PM
I saw the footage--N-1 got off the pad pretty fast with its 30 or so engines. Take a look at Mark Wade's site--and you will see that in fact it did have greater liftoff thrust. Not as efficent as Saturn V--but still ranks ahead of it in terms of sea level thrust.

I'm not claiming it was slow to take off - I'm saying it normally exploded within sight of the launch tower. IIRC no N1 ever got into space.

publiusr
2005-Sep-08, 05:35 PM
I still want Sea Dragon myself.

publiusr
2005-Sep-09, 08:36 PM
Speaking of rockets:

SSTOs questioned
http://www.spacedaily.com/news/oped-05zy.html
RED MARS
http://klabs.org/richcontent/Reports/mars/difficult_road_to_mars.pdf
Hydrogen storage
http://www.amminex.com/index_files/Page344.htm

Big private rockets.
http://images.spaceref.com/news/2005/FalconChart2.gif
http://www.spacex.com/press18.php
http://www.spacex.com/falcon_9.php

Interesting airframe patents on page 34 of the OCT 2005 Pop Mech--may be good for spaceframes as well.