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Why was there lots of research into space planes and or single-stage-to-orbit (or SSTO ) in the 90's?

Why was there lots of research into space planes and or single-stage-to-orbit (or SSTO ) in the 90's? Topic: Nasa research program
June 16, 2019 / By Kent
Question: Why was there lots of research into space planes and or single-stage-to-orbit (or SSTO ) in the 90's by NASA and the European space program than all abandoned it? All the different X-programs. Even Russia today and China not really interested any more into it. In the 90's it was rage many different concepts and ideas of different space planes and or single-stage-to-orbit. What happen?
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Best Answers: Why was there lots of research into space planes and or single-stage-to-orbit (or SSTO ) in the 90's?

Horace Horace | 1 day ago
The penny dropped ... It is now realized that a SSTO is impossible (with current fuels) and hydrogen / oxygen is perhaps the most efficient fuel - or the cheapest. The problem is the all up weight at lift off. The engines (which are heavy) have to lift everything. The USA originally preferred a vertical stack of stages. Whereas the USSR (Russia) preferred strap on boosters - and still uses them extensively.. The US is going towards strap on boosters, but still with 2 stages to orbit. This will be the configuration of its heavy lift rocket that will come on-line in the coming decade (or two). The US Space Shuttle went with strap on boosters and fuel tank -- essentially it was a SSTO vehicle, with the lander having the main engines. And the "reusable" shuttle was dwarfed at lift-off by the 2 boosters and the external fuel tank.
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We found more questions related to the topic: Nasa research program


Horace Originally Answered: Lines, planes and space.?
If AD and BC are the same length (congruent)and are not parallel then ABCD is an isosceles trapezoid. C = D (A = B too) A+B+C+D = 360 5x + 20 + 7x - 20 + 3x + 3x = 360 18x = 360 x = 20 A = 100 + 20 = 120 B = 140 - 20 = 120 C = 60 = D = 60 There is something wrong in the way the second question is written.
Horace Originally Answered: Lines, planes and space.?
commonplace in basic terms ability perpendicular. So a common airplane to a line is a airplane (flat floor like a table ideal) with a line status at as quickly as out from it (like a pencil balanced on end on the table).

Elyakim Elyakim
Economics: It's more cost effective to use high thrust solid fuel boosters in tandem with liquid fuel engines to put a payload into orbit than reusable SSTO's or blended wing-body 'space-planes' which are very expensive to maintain and decrease usable effective payloads, given the current state of the tech. Space X has been looking into a reusable booster, which is essentially a (more or less) modified conventional airplane to start an intended launch from a greater height & speed. I would expect this tech to eventually be combined with a blended wing-body 'space-plane' which uses a combination of SCRAM-jet engines with a liquid fuel engine, but even still, there needs to be advances in material science to find an effective 'skin' to act as both hull and ablative heat shield which can withstand both the rigors of space and the punishment of re-entry, which is cost effective to maintain.
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Elyakim Originally Answered: If the added fuel needs could be solved, are the space shuttles technically capable of reaching lunar orbit?
The shuttle's navigation computers and life support systems could support a mission to the moon easily. With the Extended Duration Orbiter (EDO) pad in the cargo bay, there would be enough supplies for a 16-day mission. However, as you point out, the ET (external tank) is discarded on the way to orbit. If you could some how dock with a fuel tank, the shuttle could easily travel to the moon and back. 4.5 million pounds of thrust is plenty for TLI and to reenter Earth orbit on the way back. (The shuttle would have to reenter Earth orbit before landing. The thermal protection systems are designed for a reentry from LEO at 17,500 mph -- not a direct return from the moon at 25,000 mph.) Another problem you'd have is landing on the moon. The shuttle is not equipped for that sort of landing. So, you'd have to carry a small lander in the cargo bay. It's a fun idea, but it isn't really practical. It would be a lot easier to launch a proper moon mission using 3 or 4 shuttle missions to carry the pieces of the spacecraft to orbit and then dock them together. By the way, if you would like to read about a shuttle mission to the moon, read Homer Hickham's book "Back to the Moon". He is a former shuttle mission planner and trainer. He wrote "Back to the Moon" about just such a mission. It's a fun read. Don't take it seriously. Hickham also wrote "Rocket Boys" an autobiographical story about his life and how he became a NASA engineer. It was turned into the movie "October Sky". (Note that "October Sky" is an anagram of "Rocket Boys".)
Elyakim Originally Answered: If the added fuel needs could be solved, are the space shuttles technically capable of reaching lunar orbit?
The shuttle could not survive a reentry directly from the Moon like Apollo did, but it bight be possible to make 2 passes through the upper atmosphere, one to get captured into an elliptical orbit and another to actually reenter, although that has never been done. It would be extremely difficult, requiring hitting the upper atmosphere at exactly the right angle and altitude. Thrust is not a problem if you have enough fuel. Just burn the engine longer if the thrust is low. What counts is total impulse, which is determined by how much propellant you have. Think of it as thrust times time. 10 pounds of thrust for an hour is as good as 36,000 pounds of thrust for a second. That is because in space you don't need to overcome gravity just to get off the ground.

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