Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

DARPA Riffles Through Its Archives

They just came up with the idea of launching small rockets into space from F-15s.
Small satellites could hitch rides to space on an F-15 fighter jet by next year, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the agency responsible for developing new technologies for the U.S. military.

DARPA's so-called Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) program is an ambitious project that aims to launch small satellites more quickly, and reduce the cost of lofting them into orbit.
Gee whiz, eh? Except, well..
The ASM-135 ASAT is an air-launched anti-satellite multistage missile that was developed by Ling-Temco-Vought's LTV Aerospace division. The ASM-135 was carried exclusively by the United States Air Force's F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft.
Yes, there's a difference between launching something up that high and launching it into orbit. You can see that most dramatically by comparing the sizes of the Redstone and Atlas boosters from Project Mercury.

Still, the concept and testing of launching stuff into space by using an aircraft as a reusable first stage is a very old one.


Old NFO said...

What goes around comes back around sooner or later...

mikey said...

Yep, whether it's going to the equator to get some spin or launching from altitude, SSTO is one of the magic unicorns that could change the way we do orbital economics....

Ole Phat Stu said...

Spaceship One, N312KF, uses the same idea.

Comrade Misfit said...

And SS1 is a ripoff of the X-15.