I think I have seen it all (or thought). Virgin Atlantic Airlines/Orbit wants to launch a rocket into space…from the bottom of a 747. I dont know about you all but in my opinion…I just dont feel like that’s going to fly…literally.
I’m trying to work out how this is physically possible. If they launched the rocket from the bottom of the plane, wouldn’t it just launch through the plane ie destroying it???
We will have to wait and see ☹
I imagine it would detach from the bottom and then begin self-powered flight.
Fair enough, although it would have to fly parallel to the ground or do a vertical 180 - which I don’t see how they would do that - probably a lot of sophisticated programming.
It will accelerate forward and therefore overtake the plane before beginning ascent:)
P.s. I’m not Elon Mask though, so it might be a bit different…
Edit: Oops, it’s Virgin lol
The rocket would be attached to the wing. Free fall for a second or two and then ignite its engines, all while the mothership peels off. This technology has been used for decades, that’s how they launched the Bell X1 to break the sound barrier.
Most missiles and rockets mounted on an aircraft (fighters included) feature a MIDU or Motor Ignition Delay Unit. This allows the missile to drop away from the wing/fuselage for a set period of time before igniting. Obviously there are exceptions, rocket pods have to be very carefully positioned for example!!!
Lessons learnt during the Vietnam War revealed that lighting a missile up on the rail and the subsequent bloom could lead to turbulent flow into the air intakes and compressor stall or damage to the flying surfaces.
This has been done before and isn’t actually a bad idea. Have a look at the videos of the X plane experiments to see how to drop from a B52!
To illustrate the concept, here’s a similar rocket to what Virgin has planned for the 747. This is the Lockheed Martin Innovation Systems Pegasus Rocket (Operated by Orbital ATK circa 2013, originally developed by Orbital Sciences) launching from the bottom of a Lockheed L-1011. It’s safer than you think.
Sounds amazing! I have been watching their journey with great interest and can’t wait to see it fly!
Dang it @Danman I wanted to share this! They just did it once again with the L1011!
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