"We'll take the Spruce Moose! Hop in!"
June 1, 2017 9:48 AM   Subscribe

 
In your face, Ekranoplan!
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:13 AM on June 1, 2017 [3 favorites]


more productive, at least, than those goddamn balloon racing billionaires
posted by thelonius at 10:33 AM on June 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


So I recently read this What-If with my son and now I'm wondering how much fuel they really think they'll save with this technique. I assume there must be some savings or they wouldn't be trying...?
posted by rouftop at 10:34 AM on June 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


Does that wing connection between the two fuselages seem a bit on the flimsy side?
posted by overhauser at 10:34 AM on June 1, 2017 [6 favorites]


I really enjoy that it looks like it was designed in Kerbal Space Program. Maybe Allen will try to LARP Dwarf Fortress next.
posted by The Gaffer at 10:37 AM on June 1, 2017 [9 favorites]


I assume there must be some savings or they wouldn't be trying...?

It effectively replaces the first stage, so the fuel savings are quite a bit.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:57 AM on June 1, 2017


Wikipedia: Scaled Composites Stratolaunch
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:58 AM on June 1, 2017


It effectively replaces the first stage, so the fuel savings are quite a bit.

Effectively replaces strap on boosters, maybe? Certainly not a first stage though:
In 2012, it was noted that for the technology projected for use on a reusable Falcon 9 rocket the first-stage separation would occur at a velocity of approximately 2.0 km/s (6,500 km/h; 4,100 mph; Mach 6) rather than the 3.4 km/s (11,000 km/h; 7,000 mph; Mach 10) for an expendable Falcon 9, to provide the residual fuel necessary for the deceleration and turnaround maneuver and the controlled descent and landing.[1]
And wow, SpaceX is giving up an awful lot of velocity for reusability!
posted by Chuckles at 11:10 AM on June 1, 2017 [2 favorites]




Oh so it carries the rocket in the middle.
posted by Annika Cicada at 11:39 AM on June 1, 2017


"stratolaunches, how do they work?"
posted by Annika Cicada at 11:40 AM on June 1, 2017


I'm really happy that so many of our tech billionaires are spending their money on cool space things in addition to giant yachts and stuff.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:52 AM on June 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


I believe a new word has to go in the dictionary. That word is "Rutanesque"

Otherwise, it certainly looks better than a bonfire of 1000 dollar bills.
posted by Pembquist at 11:52 AM on June 1, 2017 [4 favorites]


Can you name the plane with twenty-eight wheel drive, Smells like a steak, and seats three to five? Stratolanchero! Stratolanchero! Well, it goes real slow with the hammer down, It's the country-fried launch-vehicle endorsed by a clown, Stratolanchero! Stratolanchero!

80 yards long, 32 lanes wide, 250 tons of American pride! Stratolanchero! Stratolanchero! Top of the line in Space-launch sports, Unexplained fires are a matter for the courts! Stratolanchero! Stratolanchero! She blinds everybody with her super high beams, She's a squirrel-squashin', deer-smackin' flyin' machine, Stratolanchero! Stratolanchero! Stratolanchero! Whoa, Stratolanchero! Whoooooaaaa!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:53 AM on June 1, 2017 [21 favorites]






Does that wing connection between the two fuselages seem a bit on the flimsy side?

The design is borrowing heavily from Rutan's glider experience, as does a lot of Scaled's work. Long, thin wings are very efficient (at the expense of top speed), which is helpful when trying to haul half a million pounds of spacecraft into low atmosphere. If you look at modern gliders, you'll see a mostly composite wing construction that allows for an extremely narrow chord - the length from leading edge to trailing edge - with amazing strength and flexibility. It's a similar concept here.

The span in between the two fuselages is actually the strongest part of that design. You can model airplane wings a lot like a simple beam loading problem, and a beam pinned at both ends deflects a lot less and ultimately has lower bending moments than a cantilevered beam, which is how the outboard wing sections would be modeled. Flutter is also eliminated by fixing both ends of the internal span.

The twin fuselage design will introduce some interesting stress challenges from a cross-controls perspective. For example, if one of the rudders failed you would introduce a chordwise bending moment that's not really present in traditional aircraft as the functioning rudder would act to squeeze the rear of the fuselages together.

Long wingspans like this do cause other control problems. The B52 originally had conventional ailerons to control aircraft roll, but the wings were long enough that the ailerons simply caused the wings to twist in the opposite direction, negating any control inputs. Now they use differential spoilers to control roll which isn't as efficient but at least gets the job done.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:16 PM on June 1, 2017 [17 favorites]


Worst part of owning this is having to regrade the landing strip to the Secret Island Lair. Also it being stolen by super-villains.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:19 PM on June 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


I can't exactly say why, but those two fuselages should be called Patty and Selma.
posted by chavenet at 12:19 PM on June 1, 2017 [6 favorites]


The twin fuselage design will introduce some interesting stress challenges from a cross-controls perspective.

Not to mention the outcome if the pilots in the two cockpits decide to go in different directions.
posted by Mapes at 12:26 PM on June 1, 2017 [3 favorites]


I can't exactly say why, but those two fuselages should be called Patty and Selma.

Only if they smoke constantly.
posted by tommasz at 12:32 PM on June 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


The other thing about the centre section is that it doesn't have the aerodynamic fairing over it that you can see in other pictures - the structural "box" cross-section in the centre is the same size (or larger) than in the rest of the wing.
posted by cardboard at 12:32 PM on June 1, 2017


more productive, at least, than those goddamn balloon racing billionaires

Or the catamaran-racing ones, with their own goddamn Hawaiian island! >:(
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:10 PM on June 1, 2017


I would assume that someone can go from one side to the other during flight.
posted by Brian B. at 1:30 PM on June 1, 2017


Given recent and ongoing events, I assume this is a prototype Rich People Ark.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:43 PM on June 1, 2017


"I would assume that someone can go from one side to the other during flight."

no - while there are two cockpits, one is not used (not even pressurised) - in fact most of the thing is not pressurised - hence the square boxy back bit

Remember they bought a couple of old 747s and bodged them together to make this, the cockpits are 747 cockpits, the engines 747 engines/pylons, the wheels 747 bogies ....

CITE
posted by mbo at 1:47 PM on June 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


Good grief! That thing's ugly. Bet called here on whether or not that thing ends up being another obsolete Spruce Goose.
posted by BlueHorse at 2:15 PM on June 1, 2017


Whaaaaat? That plane is a beauty!

If the rocket thing doesn't pan out, they can always go into the house delivery business.
posted by BeeDo at 3:10 PM on June 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is beautiful, but they cut the noseys off to spite the uh, why DID they cut the noseys off? You know if it doesn't work out, and they can land it in turbulence, well then it can be a planter, or a flying hanging restaurant, or a kind of thing where a heck load of folks are in the middle in some sort of flight deck, with an amazing view. Imagine standing in full length windows on the front of the newly designed mid section, and watching cumulonimbus clouds, and the sunset, and the stars coming out. I was watching the readouts on my last flight, it never occurred to me that it is a nice 51 below up there at 30,000 feet. That has something to do with something.
posted by Oyéah at 5:41 PM on June 1, 2017


I see huge turbines like classic UFOs in the middle, that take over powering the place for long orbits, waiting to take back space pilots. One on top, one below the top, with room for people or rockets. Anyway, what a cool thing.
posted by Oyéah at 5:47 PM on June 1, 2017


I think the noses probably haven't been fitted yet ...
posted by mbo at 6:02 PM on June 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


No Spruce Moose yet? Oh, never mind, I see it's in the title. Carry on.
posted by fixedgear at 6:18 PM on June 1, 2017


I feel like this is the aviation equivalent of conjoined twins that need a life-saving operation.
posted by piyushnz at 7:51 PM on June 1, 2017


Okay...I saw that picture on Reddit yesterday (the one in the 2nd and 3rd link from above, coming out of the hanger). With the way the wings look not-straight - I guess because of the position of the flaps? - I really thought it wasn't a weird double plane, I thought it was some Google satellite / badly stitched together picture / panorama glitch thing. I thought "ha, wacky double plane illusion" and figured it was some weird photoshopped reddit joke I didn't get. Huh.
posted by artychoke at 9:26 PM on June 1, 2017


thelonius: "more productive, at least, than those goddamn balloon racing billionaires"

Well Paul Allen is also a super yacht enthusiast.
posted by Mitheral at 10:55 PM on June 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


No Spruce Moose yet?

A twin-hull could be designed for landing on water, and I wonder if they see a market for sea-based military aircraft in the future.

no - while there are two cockpits, one is not used (not even pressurised)

I was thinking of a small maintenance shaft, on a roller perhaps.
posted by Brian B. at 7:32 PM on June 2, 2017


Good for you! You've decided to clean the elevatormaintenance shaft.
 
posted by Herodios at 7:41 PM on June 2, 2017


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