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Author Topic:   Horizontal take off

Posts: 861
From: Virginia
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 04-19-2006 04:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mensax   Click Here to Email mensax     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If the shuttle was fully fueled, horizontaly, without the exterior tanks, on a very long runway, could it take off like a regular airplane? If it's a question of not having enough fuel, if an auxilary tank were installed in the cargo area... could it then take off?



Posts: 3593
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 04-19-2006 05:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think an important consideration is how "throttle-able" the main engines are. We know the main engines are throttled up and down during various portions of the ascent, but can they be throttled to lower levels such as 10%, 20%, etc.

I would think any takeoff sequence would likely require a smooth throttle transition from near 0% to whatever level was necessary to gain enough speed for take-off. If you just "gun it" at 100%, it might be a difficult bird to control.

But I could be wrong...


Posts: 1208
From: Upcountry, Maui, Hawaii
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 04-19-2006 05:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rizz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know the answer to that question but it got me thinking about the Blue Angels "Fat Albert".

Its a Lockheed-Martin C-130T Hercules equipped with four Allison turboprop engines, which produce more than 16,000 shaft-horsepower, providing it with the power to land and depart on runways as short as 2,500 feet.

A neat little feature are the eight solid-fuel rocket bottles, four on each side, attached near the rear paratrooper doors to thrust the Hercules skyward.

Fired simultaneously, the JATO (jet assisted take off) bottles allow the aircraft to takeoff within 1,500 feet, climb at a 45-degree angle, and propel it to an altitude of 1,000 feet in approximately 15 seconds.

It cruises at a speed of approximately 360 miles per hour at 27,000 feet.

A little to low of an orbit, but its certainly a start!

If anyone has ever seen Fat Albert in action, it's quite a site.

[This message has been edited by Rizz (edited April 20, 2006).]


Posts: 589
From: Ridgecrest, CA USA
Registered: Sep 2000

posted 04-19-2006 05:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well all of the fule for the SSME's is in the ET I would say no. I don't think the OMS's engines could lift off the shuttle. Also the shuttle has very little lift, I think a rock has more lift so that would be a problem also.


Posts: 72
From: Oak Hill, VA, USA
Registered: Jun 2005

posted 04-19-2006 06:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for katabatic   Click Here to Email katabatic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
An early shuttle design provided for air-breathing turbojet engines to use for ferrying the vehicle, but that portion of the design was dropped. As it stands now, the shuttle has a marked 'downward' angle of attack at rest, so at a minimum I think you'd need to have a longer nose gear strut to keep any thrust you applied from driving the sucker into the ground....

John Youskauskas

Posts: 126
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 04-20-2006 09:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Youskauskas     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The former Soviet Union built an aerodynamic test test vehicle for the Buran program called the "Analog Buran". The Russian shuttle had a slightly higher lift to drag ratio than the U.S. shuttle, 6.5 vs 5.5, and was able to take off horizontally using jet engines, shut them down in flight, and glide to a landing.

More info and photos:


Posts: 2113
From: Staffs, UK
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 04-20-2006 01:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The shuttle - as described - wouldn't be able takeoff horizontally on its own OMS.

It DID take off horiontally - of coutrse - on the back of 747 for the ALT flights!!

Seriously, several HTOHL ideas were put forward in the early days of the NASA Phase A-C designs "competitions" for the space transportation system before the current design was accepted. Many had a fly back booster to carry the orbiter aloft.

Many HTOHL studies since then (DC-X,Hypersonic vehicles) and,in some ways, you could class the SS1 and SS2 in this category.

Also, some of the other sub orbital 'planes' that are being designed and nearing completion for their stab at sub orbital flight.


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