Aspirespace Rocket Engineering Society
Transform is the newest member of our fleet, and the most technically complex. With Britain about to get at least one spaceport, we felt it was time we joined the club of space tourism spaceplane designers; Transform is a one-
Of course, without the help of a beneficent millionaire, we’re unlikely to get beyond the radio controlled model stage, but it’s an interesting intellectual exercise nonetheless!
Transform is a ‘transformer’; it uses variable geometry to transition between different flight phases.
Phase 2 is a vertically ascending rocket-
The wings are swept back at 30 degrees to remain subcritical (reduces drag) during the Mach 0.85 ascent.
As Spaceship Two has shown, computational stress analysis and composite wing construction allows modern variable geometry aircraft to be much less heavy than last century’s predecessors.
All the variable geometry movement is accomplished using non-
The wingtip tail-
Transform incorporates a microjet/very light jet engine that is small but powerful, such as the Pratt and Whitney 165F (mass: 140 kg, thrust: 6 kN) but jets have to be cosseted in space or their oil will outgas and the jet won’t re-
Why a windshield made from flat panels of glass? It turns out that curved panels of heatproof glass are absurdly expensive. There is a second inner cabin window for pressure backup, which is curved pre-
Empty mass: 965 kg, propellant mass: 1146 kg (= mass ratio of 2.2 for a delta V of 2.47 Km/s)
Apogee: 120 Km
Range: as required, depends on installed jet fuel tank or ferry tank.
Pitch control: all-
Phase 3: we throttle up and begin the rocket ascent in earnest, reaching around Mach 3.5 and four gees acceleration as the rocket burns out. The wings are fully swept back to reduce drag and to prevent overstressing them.
Phase 4: after an apogee of around 120 kilometres, the vehicle transforms into a waverider configuration for an auto-
The rear strut may seem odd on a supersonic aeroplane, but it’s carbon-
Phase 1 is a subsonic climb under electrically-
|What is a hybrid
|H0 Gox/perspex engine
|H2 NO2/HDPE engine
|H20 LOX/HDPE engine
|What is a waverider
|The Caret wing
|Mk 10B waverider