Lockheed Martin Space Plane Prototype

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tampaDreamer

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<p>http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/080815-lockheed-spaceplane-prototype-test.html</p><p>
<span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">GOLDEN, Colorado &mdash; Lockheed Martin carried out a second test flight of a prototype reusable launch system on Aug. 12 at the proposed site of New Mexico's Spaceport America outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico.</span></p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">While the 200-pound (91 kg) vehicle reached its planned altitude &mdash; roughly 1,500 feet (457 meters) &mdash; the craft went out of control and was seriously damaged, beyond reusability.</span></p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">Liftoff of the proprietary winged craft took place in the early morning hours at the site, zipping up a launch rail under its own power and headed skyward. </span></p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">The rocket plane flew some 12.5 seconds of a planned flight of less than a minute before experiencing the in-flight anomaly, said Al Simpson, acting director, Advanced Programs, Human Space Flight for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, near Denver.</span></p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">"We're investigating right now...to ascertain what happened. That's the research and development nature of what we're trying to do," Simpson told <em>SPACE.com</em>. "We're going to go off and look and see what happened and then crank that back into our next flight," he said.</span></p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal"><strong><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">Fully autonomous vehicle</span></strong></p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">The self-propelled vehicle was flown last December from the same launch area &mdash; a test effort that is being done in partnership with UP Aerospace of Highlands Ranch, Colorado.</span></p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">Simpson said the name of the project, as well as the craft's propulsion system remains under wraps at this time. The vehicle flown in December and now this month is 8 feet (2.4 meters) long with a wingspan of about 6 feet (1.8 meters), he noted.</span></p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">Several new test objectives were involved in the vehicle's second flight, specifically in the arena of autonomous flight and avionics, Simpson said.</span></p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">"This is a fully autonomous vehicle. We're working the autonomous liftoff, control and landing aspects of the vehicle," Simpson explained. When the craft departs its launch rail, there's no human in the loop, with the flight hardware sensing its environment, including winds, to guide itself on a pre-loaded trajectory to touchdown.</span></p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">For this experimental launch, Spaceport America officials had prepared a dirt landing location. But once the rocket plane diverted from its intended path, Simpson said, it plopped down about one-half mile down range &mdash; within spaceport grounds. &nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">"We have another vehicle that's nearly ready to go. We'll learn from Tuesday's flight and take corrective actions," Simpson said. "Although we didn't like the end result, we learned a lot and will crank that into the next flight and keep going &ndash; that's my message."</span></p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal"><strong><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">Flies like a rocket, lands like a plane</span></strong></p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">Simpson said that the vehicle flies like a rocket but lands like a plane. The roughly one-fifth scale rocket plane is being flown to evaluate techniques and procedures for responsiveness to quick launch, ease of operations, and low cost access to space.</span></p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">Regarding the scaling up of the craft, Simpson said that he and his team want to take one more step by the end of next year. "The philosophy is to test a little, fly a little...and buy down the risk" in a venture to address the nation's needs for responsive, low-cost access to space, he said.</span></p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">Ultimately, the autonomously controlled, sub-scale unpiloted space plane project is intended to lead to the fielding of a larger-scale system, one that lowers the price tag of lofting satellites into Earth orbit.</span></p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">At the end of 2010, early 2011, Simpson added, project officials want to amass a body of data from the test shots that would be available to say "should we go forward and 'operationalize' something like this?"</span></p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">"The theme here is trying to do something a little bit differently than the 10-year development program," Simpson concluded.
</span></p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p><p style="margin:9.75pt0in" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:Arial">So I guess this is supposed to be a rapid reuse vertical liftoff, horizontal landing craft.&nbsp; Liquid fuel, I suppose?</span></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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exoscientist

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/080815-lockheed-spaceplane-prototype-test.html
GOLDEN, Colorado &mdash; Lockheed Martin carried out a second test flight of a prototype reusable launch system on Aug. 12 at the proposed site of New Mexico's Spaceport America outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico.While the 200-pound (91 kg) vehicle reached its planned altitude &mdash; roughly 1,500 feet (457 meters) &mdash; <br /> Posted by tampaDreamer</DIV></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;How fast is the full size systme supposed to fly?</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp; Bob Clark<br />&nbsp; </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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shuttle_guy

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<p>[<font face="Arial" size="2">The roughly one-fifth scale </font><font face="Arial" size="2">rocket plane is being flown</font><font face="Arial" size="2"> to evaluate techniques and procedures for responsiveness to quick launch, ease of operations, and low cost access to space.</font>]</p><p>Based on the above quote I would say about 5 times the&nbsp;dimentions noted in the first post.</p><p>&nbsp;noted in the first post.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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solarflare

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>We're investigating right now...to ascertain what happened. That's the research and development nature of what we're trying to do," Simpson told SPACE.com. "We're going to go off and look and see what happened and then crank that back into our next flight," he said.Fully autonomous vehicleThe self-propelled vehicle was flown last December from the same launch area &mdash; a test effort that is being done in partnership with UP Aerospace of Highlands Ranch, Colorado.Simpson said the name of the project, as well as the craft's propulsion system remains under wraps at this time.&nbsp;<br />Posted by tampaDreamer</DIV></p><p>Cool. I hope they get the next one up and running.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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vulture4

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Cool. I hope they get the next one up and running. <br /> Posted by solarflare</DIV></p><p>Finaly, a promising new technology.&nbsp; it's unfortunate that NASA is more interested in re-enacting Project Apollo. </p>
 
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