Sidorov O. A., Smirnov A. S., Kriachunenko O. L.
Oles Honchar Dnipropetrovsk National University
THE ROLE OF AIR SPACE START IN SPACE EXPLORATION
For 50 years of space researching famous engineers concluded that big amount of space launches of spacecrafts by dint of launch vehicles from the Earth surface not always justify expenses of time and finance. At the same time were born some new ways of decision this problem, such as underwater launch (1998, submarine «Novomoskovsk»), disposition of launch vehicles in the waters of world Ocean (1999, international project «Sea Launch»). Besides it is necessary to notice an ambitious idea of air space launch that is a satellite or a launch vehicle on an aircraft. Advantages of this exotic way are obvious: mobility, relative cheapness of design of a launch vehicle itself, there is no need to build spaceport, efficiency of application of a launch vehicle after air secession, repeatedly of application of complex. Most often this way in present time is applied for launches of spacecrafts by suborbital trajectory.
Start of space launches from air initiated air engineers of 30–40 years of XX century, when they at the first time tested starts light planes from heavy ones. With the beginning of space exploration era this concept grew up to an application of spaceplanes and spaceships.
The process of air space launch can be conditionally divided into 6 steps:
1. For the first to create a special plane with great carrying capacity. In Russia this task is done by a strategic bomber Tu-160 («Burlak» project), An-124 («Air Launch» – project involving Indonesian company «Air Launch Centra Nusa»), Tu-22M. In Ukraine it is a single built plane An-225 «Mriya» («Svityaz» and «Lybid» projects). In USA it is L-1011 («Pegasus» project). In the USA initially the other way was chosen – way of the development of hypersonic aircraft for applying a launch vehicle after secession (North American X-15, NASA X-43). Romania offers air launch of suborbital piloted rocket from air balloon (Stabilo ARCASPACE project).
2. A spacecraft is integrated on the aircraft.
3. To set a complex on the airfield territory for all systems control and liquid-propellant engines of a launch vehicle.
4. After a plane takeoff it raises up to 10–12 kilometers high and sets speed nearly 200 m/s. The plane does special maneuver for effect of microgravity and secession of spacecraft by mortar start. Then the carrier aircraft itself comes back to an airdrome.
5. After secession engines of launch vehicle turn on and raise it to the required height.
6. The injection of spacecraft from a launch vehicle takes place.
Because of the constant growing of aircraft and rocket technology some problems accompanying launch from air – safety of the crew at the secession moment, growth of productivity of complex, technology of escaping the emergency situation in the event of a failed launch – become actual.
At present time only single complex «Pegasus» is able to be used. Since first launch in 1990 there were implemented 42 starts, 3 – failed. Russian engineers promise to implement first launches in 2020 year.