SpaceShipTwo could be single stage to suborbit says ESA firm

by | Apr 29, 2010 | Seradata News | 2 comments

SS2W445.jpg
credit: Virgin Galactic / caption: could SpaceShipTwo use a liquid propulsion system?

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo could be a single stage to suborbit vehicle using liquid chemical propulsion according to independent research carried out by a company that has been contracted by the European Space Agency for suborbital and hypersonic transport studies

UK company Gas Dynamics has concluded, after its own internal study, using all the publicly available material it could obtain about SS2, that the spacecraft does not need its carrier aircraft WhiteKnight Two if it is fitted with a liquid chemical propulsion systemGas Dynamics has worked for ESA studying suborbital flight because of the agency’s interest in using such vehicles for technology testing. The compay’s own website refers to “Vinci: A cryogenically fuelled suborbital concept for the European Space Agency”

Hyperbola is not aware of any link between this ESA Vinci suborbital project and Gas Dynamics own internal SS2 study

However the UK firm came to the conclusion that the volume within which SS2 carries its solid rocket motor and nitrous oxide supply could equally hold a liquid chemical propulsion system capable of providing enough thrust for long enough for a horizontal take-off and ascent to 50,000ft and above without the need for WK2

Hyperbola had spoken to Gas Dynamics at an aerospace sciences conference held in the northern English city of Manchester a week or two before the 60th International Astronautical Congress held in Daejeon, south Korea. It was then that this blog learnt of the company’s internal SS2 study and related ESA work

At the IAC last October Virgin Galactic president Will Whitehorn mentioned in passing during his presentation that in future SS2 could use liquid propulsion and Hyperbola sent a cryptic tweet at the time expecting to be able to follow that up with a blog post in the future

This blog was hoping to gain further details about Gas Dynamics’ ESA studies in the months since the Manchester conference and IAC but senior European Space Research and Technology Centre managements’ nervousness about the perception of suborbital projects meant an interview could not be arranged before now

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Next Steps for SLS: Europe’s Vinci is a contender for Exploration Upper-Stage Engine

NASA’s Space Launch System has been much derided by critics, and yet it seems to sail serenely on, passing its Read more

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo to make first flight today?

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo (SS2) could make its first flight today, this morning California time, attached to its carrier aircraft WhiteKnight Read more

UK studies reusable launch vehicle economics

As part of the UK space exploration review report an economic study was undertaken of reusable launchers, namely Virgin Galactic's Read more

VIDEO: SpaceShipTwo emerges from hangar

Go here for some great video of the SpaceShipTwo roll our cum unveil event taken by my Washington DC office Read more

PICTURES: SpaceShipTwo unveil ceremony

Virgin Galactic's founder Sir Richard Branson, president Will Whitehorn and commercial director Stephen Attenborough at the SpaceShipTwo unveil on 7 Read more

VIDEO: Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo “Enterprise”

VIDEO: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo "Enterprise"

All the pictures: Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo “Enterprise”

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo vehicle attached to its carrier aircraft WhiteKnight Two in its hangar at Mojave

PICTURES: Virgin Galactic releases SpaceShipTwo images

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo vehicle attached to its carrier aircraft WhiteKnight Two in its hangar at Mojave. More images will be Read more

Categories

Archives

Tags