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The RLV797-AReusable Launch Vehicle 797-B

The RLV797B is a composite based light load aircraft designed to be launched from a host aircraft and then to deploy itself in a Low Earth Orbit. This unmanned, pilotless drone then becomes the satellite. This concept brings with it many advantages over traditional systems of launch.

Satellite Communication Technology. What is a Satellite? A satellite is any object that is trapped in orbit around a larger mass floating in space. The Sun is our star. It is at the center of our solar system. The earth is a satellite to the sun, as the moon is a satellite to the earth. We understand a satellite to be, under modern connotations, an electronic device floating in space able to spy on the earth. While in part that is true, it does not cover the range of satellite technology. Satellites range in size and complexity from an object a little larger than a bowling ball with two tails sending back to earth binary pulse signals, to vast space stations developed over many years and constructed in space to be manned and send complex voice, video and data streams back to earth and beyond to outer space.

The nature of satellites that have been launched to-date, has been that of thin-skinned animals very similar to the jellyfish. They have had an expendable design because there was no way to retrieve them. This brought with it its own set of problems. First, considerable redundancy had to be built in, because if one part of a system should go down, then the whole system would go down. As these were not retrievable, they would end up joining the piles of space junk, all of which are technically satellites, floating aimlessly around waiting their turn to be drawn into Earth’s atmosphere and be burnt up on re-entry.

Because of this, launching satellites has proved to be very expensive and therefore prohibitive for commercial ventures. Only Governments with their great financial resources would make satellite launches possible, and this has been the case up to now. Our ability for miniaturization and our technical skills have developed many hundreds of thousands of times over the last 10 years

Background. Because of the increasing cost, and commensurately increasing failure rates of satellite launch technology, the company is proposing a completely new direction of Satellite launch technology that encompasses rather than alienate all aspects of available technology. The proposals made here are the beliefs of the author combined with the scientific evidence outlined herein. Traditional launch methodology has been to place some sort of detachable object to a cylindrical fuel container, and then ignite the thing. Hoping beyond all hope, that it reaches where it is supposed to go, in the period calculated, without the unfortunate nuisance of hitting something unforeseen on the way.

The company proposes a radical new thought direction in which it would be possible to place a satellite in space, conduct satellite communications business and then return that same unit to earth for maintenance and repair. Then replacing that same unit back whence it came for a fraction of the cost, in a fraction of the time. The major contentions of this paper are:

  1. Low Earth Orbit Satellites for communications purpose should operate in the L-Band frequency spectrum.
  2. Aerodynamics is a major consideration in satellite deployment.
  3. Composite materials combined with advanced electronics make LEO Satellite transmission from the ground with handheld PCD's (Personal Communications Devices) a reality.
  4. Microwave-radio transmission rate of 90+gigabits is possible though LEO stations.

The development of the next generation of launch vehicles for the micro sized satellites has been the subject of many debates, and not enough research. Currently NASA’s commercialization program will transform the privatized satellite launching into a viable industry within the next 5 years.

Repackaging of signals to more efficiently use existing earth stations and orbital platforms have taken much of the resources currently available, which have been directed at the development of electronics and telecommunications, to the detriment of systems integration. Code Division Multiple Access until now has been the primary focus of industry giants in the area of data compression and transference logistics. The advent of microchip miniaturization and the very large scale integration that has advanced the mainframe to microcomputer downsizing revolution has yet to be manifested in satellite development.

With the realization of electronic integration of systems in active and passive satellites, advancement in the semiconductor manufacture and capacity, technology enables dramatic reductions in the volume and weight of a satellite, while increasing the through put and information data rates beyond the scope of imagination just a few years ago. Now new Low Earth Orbit (LEO) launch technology can be employed to take advantage of the reduced satellite hardware bundle. A constellation of LEO satellites system, rather than a geostationary orbit satellite, will allow for real-time capabilities previously not achieved. Traditional geostationary communications satellites must orbit the earth at an approximate altitude of 36,000 km above the equator. A time delay of approximately ½ of a second occurs even at the speed of light, creating unacceptable round trip time delay for most real-time applications.

System Integration. Traditional programs are fractionalized and therefore by design functionally obsolete as soon as they are designed. Case at point; satellite manufacturer designs and builds equipment into the confines of perceived delivery constraints of the delivering system. The launch system design teams work within the confines of perceived restriction of weight to lift to drag coefficiencies of lifting bodies in relation to propulsion systems. Thrust and propulsion engineering bases its research in the direction of fuel needed to develop energy to produce thrust.

How can such a system work? It has design faults from the inception stage. For a system to be integrated, we should perhaps start asking some non-scientific questions. Who is going to use the system? Will they contribute to the funding or will they pay for the system by usage charges? What is the system to be used for?

The company started out with these questions and back engineered, if you will, our perfect integrated system. Everyone in our opinion would use the system, so the system needed to be comprehensive enough to allow every person on the planet access to the system. Yes, they will pay for it, in monthly user fees. The system is used for telecommunications globally. Each person would have a PCD (Personal Communications Device) which would transmit and receive signals from a series of satellite platforms travelling about the globe. These satellites would have to be low enough that a signal sent from a 3 – 5 watt output device would reach them, be passed through them on to other satellites and back to another PCD someplace else on the planet without a perceivable time delay. This PCD would be an individual’s gateway connection to the rest of the world. It would permit TV, video, voice and data streams at through put rates above the 90-gigabit mark.

These PCDs would form a connection with the satellites via microwave radio transmissions. The satellite will be permanently housed inside a launch vehicle, enjoying the benefits of protection from the elements and retrieval capabilities in case of problems. The launch vehicle will be made of a strong and durable composite material enabling it to be effectively and inexpensively produced, thereby cutting cost and time. As the greatest part of the fuel expenditure of traditional launch systems is used in getting up to the 50,000 ft mark, we intend to use a 747 to carry our vehicle up to the 50,000 ft. mark and then simply deploy it much like air-to-air missiles are deployed.

A ground controller with auto-pilot capacity would then guide the unit up to its allocated position. Once there, the vehicle would invert, placing the solar array on the underside to the sun and the main propulsion engines will be switched off. The vehicle would then effectively fly itself because of the aerodynamics properties of the vehicle and the speed at which the world turns. This will give an illusion from the ground of flight or movement. The unit will then send and receive data streams from other satellites and ground PCDs, forming a communications network. If, in the unlikely event of disaster or the satellite does not work; or, if the client does not pay for the system service; or it has just been in orbit too long, we can fire up the third fuel cell and return the craft to our San Diego facility for maintenance and refueling.

rlv797a.jpg (65224 bytes)Launch Vehicle. The RLV797B is a satellite and engine with fuel cells cocooned inside expanded ceramic foam contained inside a graphite, titanium and kevlar outer shell. The system is fully integrated and has no moving parts on the outside of the vehicle. Conventional rockets, with the cylindrical body and nose cone have historically been the preferred system to lift satellite payload to space. While slower than the rocket design, delta winged aircraft are the fastest wing design known to date, incorporated in the SR-71 and Shuttle. Hence, today's Shuttle design combines the rocket fuselage with the delta. Tremendous mass and excess weight exist in the Shuttle, wasting an incredible amount of fuel and resulting in lost energy due to friction to force the mass of the slower delta design into space.

Because of a combination of a new level of efficient aerodynamics and ultra-light advanced composites of carbon graphite, Kevlar and ceramic foam operating as a heat shield, the RLV797B provides the basis for logarithmic increases in cost effective high-speed satellite delivery. The RLV797B constitutes a lifting body capable of flying into space without an excessive amount of fuel or mass. In the Shuttle, take-off and reentry friction can consume up to 50 times more in fuel and structural costs compared to the modular Surflyer design.

The vehicle, in concept, is a multi-use system that can be deployed, reentered onto the earth, refueled, reskinned and relaunched. Because of the composite design of the outer shell or skin, we are able to use the skin as a single use design but the craft and all the technology that it contains on the inside can be reused. By utilizing this system, we can reduce the hard cost of manufacture and re-launch down to a fraction of the cost of the original launch, and this would be a small fraction of traditional launch systems available today.

The RLV797B Components.

  • Graphite, Kevlar, titanium composite primary structure with a non-outgassing ceramic foam core sandwich and an integrated Thermal Protection System (TPS) tolerating low and high temperature extremes.
  • The outer skin with ceramics and metallic coating offers a low maintenance, with long life expectancy
  • Autonomous flight control with integrated systems check, ascent, on-orbit, re-entry, and landing in an unpiloted vehicle; including redundant systems for fail safe operations.
  • Gyro control systems for maneuverability without the need for exterior moving parts.
  • Multi purpose functionality from the same through put system:
  • Personal Communications Devices (PCDs)
  • Video / TV platforms
  • Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
  • Satellite to Satellite Communications
  • Maritime Radio/Video Channels
  • Operator Specific Intranet Systems (OSIS)
  • Global Tracking Systems (GTS)
  • Local TV & Radio Broadcasting Systems (LTRBS)
  • Federal Emergency Broadcast System (FEBS)
    • Propulsion systems with robust high performance bipropellant systems including Bell, bell-annular, and aerospike nozzle.

    The Mission. The mission of the RLV797B is to place the communication satellite contained inside them into a very low orbit around the earth. This new communications band VLEO is located at between 50 and 75 miles high. These vehicles will act as not only the satellites themselves, but also as the launch and retrieval system, and the security and safety system for the satellite communication system. This is accomplished in the following manner:  
    1. The composite skin acts to protect the delicate satellite contained within by forming a bullet proof outer shell.
    2. The aerodynamics of the RLV797B acts to protect the satellite from incidental space debris.
    3. The RLV797B can engage escape and evasion techniques if it becomes targeted.
    4. In case of a cataclysmic event in space similar to the one expected towards the end this year, (an eruption from the sun), this system could be brought down and replaced the next day. With a standby system on the ground, it would be possible to replace the system with two RLV797B suspended under wing from a Boeing 747 launched simultaneously at a rate of two deployments every hour. It would take, theoretically, a little over 30 hours to replace the entire system.

    There are three basic reasons why the RLV797B will replace existing deployment systems for communication:

    • High launch failure rates.
    • Aerodynamic inefficiencies contributing to high costs.
    • Ecological pollution by satellite debris.

    Aerodynamic Inefficiencies contributing to high costs. Aerodynamic inefficiencies contribute directly to additional fuel costs. As weight increases, the mass to support the structure of the launch vehicle increases, furthering the need for more fuel which then results in enormous scale, mass and weight of the launch vehicle. The net result is a very high cost of launch. A traditional launch per 2000 pounds of deployment is about US$20 million where, with our system, it should be at about US$3 million. The fastest and the most economical method of deployment for satellites to-date have been by forcing a cylinder with a nose cone into space with virtually no glide ratios. However, for every gain in a system there is a loss. The loss in the current launch mode is the dollars expended in fuel, the massive framework encapsulating the engines, and the non-reusability of the system. Contrarily, the RLV797B will use its shape to effectively "surf" on its self-generated shock waves flying into space at hypersonic speeds as in previously researched Wave Rider designs. The difference between the RLV797B and the Wave Rider design is the wing area present in the aft portion of the delta design of the Wave Rider. This creates a higher drag to lift coefficient (CL/CD).

    Tremendous drag results as speed increases on the tips of the wings in a delta design. In order to reduce drag at high speeds, the RLV797B has a rounded off the delta design to resemble the most efficient platform shape: the symmetrical hypersonic foil design with a truncated tail section. The symmetrical platform shape reduces wing tip drag at hypersonic speeds and increases up to 30% as shown in the hydrodynamic tank tests. The viscosity differential has been factored into the test which simulated hypersonic flight.

    The RLV797B and its design. During hypersonic velocities of Mach 5 and above, the shape of the craft will dramatically increase the efficiency of the vehicle as well as changing the mass and the weight. Streamlining the platform is the last hurdle in the development of the lifting body. The hypersonic foil as a lifting surface has already been created to deal with the amount of lift generated during hypersonic flight. Aircraft that have reverse sweeps of the wings have been effective in high-speed flight. Hence, the RLV797B design uses extreme sweep of the leading edge that flows into a reverse sweep of the lifting bodies trailing edge.

    The RLV797B incorporates the symmetrical cross section of a wing as a platform. The thickness of the foil diminishing from the center point reduces the tip drag of the delta wings, as in the Space Shuttle by NASA, and produces smaller vortices that lessen sonic boom and sonic shock stalls at supersonic speeds. The craft literally "surfs" through the upper atmosphere during hypersonic flight and rides on the shock waves generated while in flight.

    Steering System. Because of the design of this craft to suffer none of the limitations of exterior moving parts, there are no rudder or airline controls associated with more conventional aircraft. The RLV797B will utilize forward/aft and port/starboard gyros. These gyros are electrically powered from the engines in flight and from the solar array whilst in orbit. By varying the level of current through the gyro we can alter the level of pull through its axis, thereby forcing the whole body up or down, left or right.

    Re-entry Characteristics. Re-entry characteristics of the RLV797B will be similar to those of the shuttle. However, there will be less overall drag surface without the delta wings and fuselage, resulting in a smoother transition from low space orbit into upper atmospheric conditions. Maneuverability of the RLV797B will allow S-turns throughout re-entry, breaking up the descent altitude and dissipating the heat surrounding the hot spots of the vehicle. The Low Mass and dry weight characteristics of the vehicle will contribute to effective re-entry with the minimum amount of shielding necessary, further lessening the total vehicle weight. The lift to drag ratio of the RLV797B will be equivalent of the shuttle during re-entry. Load factor without wings creates an integral one-unit design providing a higher strength factor than conventional aircraft design.

    Communications Applications. An example of the immense potential where a network of four systems is shown providing communications services to all of Japan, including the surrounding maritime area. For a smaller country such as Taiwan, service coverage of the entire country and surrounding waters can be provided with just a single system. In a large country such as Canada, independent or interconnected systems can serve regional service requirements very effectively. Inter-regional signal trunking by means of Sat – to – Sat links are also possible. In addition, our system permits traffic capacity multiplication because of its ability to re-use radio frequencies inside its coverage cell. Several potential communications applications for the system are summarized below.

    Mobile Communications. Mobile Radio, Cellular Telephone, PCS, Paging. Direct mobile radio access to satellites enables extension of existing services in both urban areas (where traditional, ground based or satellite systems experience problems due to shadowing from tall buildings) and remote/rural areas (where terrestrial nodal access is not cost effective). The company’s platform could be accessed at the mobile radio frequencies, e.g. 800 MHz for cellular telephones, 900 MHz for mobile data radio or paging and 1.9 GHz for emerging personal communications services (PCS). Aerodynamic inefficiencies contribute directly to additional fuel costs. As weight increases, the mass to support the structure of the launch vehicle increases, furthering the need for more fuel which then results in enormous scale, mass and weight of the launch vehicle. The net result is a very high cost of launch. A traditional launch per 2000 pounds of deployment is about US$20 million where, with our system, it should be at about US$3 million. The fastest and the most economical method of deployment for satellites to-date have been by forcing a cylinder with a nose cone into space with virtually no glide ratios. However, for every gain in a system there is a loss. The loss in the current launch mode is the dollars expended in fuel, the massive framework encapsulating the engines, and the non-reusability of the system. Contrarily, the RLV797B will use its shape to effectively "surf" on its self-generated shock waves flying into space at hypersonic speeds as in previously researched Wave Rider designs. The difference between the RLV797B and the Wave Rider design is the wing area present in the aft portion of the delta design of the Wave Rider. This creates a higher drag to lift coefficient (CL/CD).

    Tremendous drag results as speed increases on the tips of the wings in a delta design. In order to reduce drag at high speeds, the RLV797B has a rounded off the delta design to resemble the most efficient platform shape: the symmetrical hypersonic foil design with a truncated tail section. The symmetrical platform shape reduces wing tip drag at hypersonic speeds and increases up to 30% as shown in the hydrodynamic tank tests. The viscosity differential has been factored into the test which simulated hypersonic flight.

    The RLV797B and its design. During hypersonic velocities of Mach 5 and above, the shape of the craft will dramatically increase the efficiency of the vehicle as well as changing the mass and the weight. Streamlining the platform is the last hurdle in the development of the lifting body. The hypersonic foil as a lifting surface has already been created to deal with the amount of lift generated during hypersonic flight. Aircraft that have reverse sweeps of the wings have been effective in high-speed flight. Hence, the RLV797B design uses extreme sweep of the leading edge that flows into a reverse sweep of the lifting bodies trailing edge.

    The RLV797B incorporates the symmetrical cross section of a wing as a platform. The thickness of the foil diminishing from the center point reduces the tip drag of the delta wings, as in the Space Shuttle by NASA, and produces smaller vortices that lessen sonic boom and sonic shock stalls at supersonic speeds. The craft literally "surfs" through the upper atmosphere during hypersonic flight and rides on the shock waves generated while in flight.

    Steering System. Because of the design of this craft to suffer none of the limitations of exterior moving parts, there are no rudder or airline controls associated with more conventional aircraft. The RLV797B will utilize forward/aft and port/starboard gyros. These gyros are electrically powered from the engines in flight and from the solar array whilst in orbit. By varying the level of current through the gyro we can alter the level of pull through its axis, thereby forcing the whole body up or down, left or right.

    Re-entry Characteristics. Re-entry characteristics of the RLV797B will be similar to those of the shuttle. However, there will be less overall drag surface without the delta wings and fuselage, resulting in a smoother transition from low space orbit into upper atmospheric conditions. Maneuverability of the RLV797B will allow S-turns throughout re-entry, breaking up the descent altitude and dissipating the heat surrounding the hot spots of the vehicle. The Low Mass and dry weight characteristics of the vehicle will contribute to effective re-entry with the minimum amount of shielding necessary, further lessening the total vehicle weight. The lift to drag ratio of the RLV797B will be equivalent of the shuttle during re-entry. Load factor without wings creates an integral one-unit design providing a higher strength factor than conventional aircraft design.

    Communications Applications. An example of the immense potential where a network of four systems is shown providing communications services to all of Japan, including the surrounding maritime area. For a smaller country such as Taiwan, service coverage of the entire country and surrounding waters can be provided with just a single system. In a large country such as Canada, independent or interconnected systems can serve regional service requirements very effectively. Inter-regional signal trunking by means of Sat – to – Sat links are also possible. In addition, our system permits traffic capacity multiplication because of its ability to re-use radio frequencies inside its coverage cell. Several potential communications applications for the system are summarized below.

    Mobile Communications. Mobile Radio, Cellular Telephone, PCS, Paging. Direct mobile radio access to satellites enables extension of existing services in both urban areas (where traditional, ground based or satellite systems experience problems due to shadowing from tall buildings) and remote/rural areas (where terrestrial nodal access is not cost effective). The company’s platform could be accessed at the mobile radio frequencies, e.g. 800 MHz for cellular telephones, 900 MHz for mobile data radio or paging and 1.9 GHz for emerging personal communications services (PCS). Aerodynamic inefficiencies contribute directly to additional fuel costs. As weight increases, the mass to support the structure of the launch vehicle increases, furthering the need for more fuel which then results in enormous scale, mass and weight of the launch vehicle. The net result is a very high cost of launch. A traditional launch per 2000 pounds of deployment is about US$20 million where, with our system, it should be at about US$3 million. The fastest and the most economical method of deployment for satellites to-date have been by forcing a cylinder with a nose cone into space with virtually no glide ratios. However, for every gain in a system there is a loss. The loss in the current launch mode is the dollars expended in fuel, the massive framework encapsulating the engines, and the non-reusability of the system. Contrarily, the RLV797B will use its shape to effectively "surf" on its self-generated shock waves flying into space at hypersonic speeds as in previously researched Wave Rider designs. The difference between the RLV797B and the Wave Rider design is the wing area present in the aft portion of the delta design of the Wave Rider. This creates a higher drag to lift coefficient (CL/CD).

    Tremendous drag results as speed increases on the tips of the wings in a delta design. In order to reduce drag at high speeds, the RLV797B has a rounded off the delta design to resemble the most efficient platform shape: the symmetrical hypersonic foil design with a truncated tail section. The symmetrical platform shape reduces wing tip drag at hypersonic speeds and increases up to 30% as shown in the hydrodynamic tank tests. The viscosity differential has been factored into the test which simulated hypersonic flight.

     



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