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"My only concern is that it wouldn't work, which I see as a problem."
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Hydrogren filled wing adds lift & fuel
I've been bouncing this idea around here, but now I have a web site that illustrates this idea.
An orbital launch vehicle that consists of a large wing filled with lighter than air gas. Instead of carrying a tank of liquid hydrogen fuel, the wings could contain it in gaseous form.
When the fuel/gas
is expelled, the hinged wings will become swept back from the reduced volume & increased speed.
For the reentry, the wings can be re-inflated for enough air resistance to reduce speed.
I just crunched some numbers, and for this vehicle to have the same amount of fuel as the shuttle it will need to have the volume of a million cubic feet. I figure the wingspan should be 10,000 feet. There's enough gas to lift 50 tons.
illustrates the concept [the great unknown, Dec 21 2006]
||Explosive (think Zepplin)
||If it is kept as gas, not compressd to a liquid the volume to available power ratio is not enough, you'd probably use it all up in minutes, maybe even seconds.
||Big pumps needed to extract gas if nothing is being put in it's place - i.e. sucking gas out to create vacuum.
||the wings will retract to accomodate the "vacuum"
I'm not sure what kinds of how big these pumps it would need, but instead of the liquid pumps that rockets use now, it would be like an air pump.
There's a lot of numbers to crunch:
-force of hydrogen engine to get to orbital veloicty
-the right speed to accelerate so the wings give proper lift
-amount of fuel needed
-volume of gas (to dermine size of wings; I feel bigger will be better)
-lift of both wing & gas
If the amount of gas is not enough to lift , that's OK since it will still make it lighter.
I thought of Hindenburg, but is liquid hydrogen any safer?
||Very nice diagrams and explanation on the linky, though.