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Немецкое космическое агентство предлагает ловить отработанные ракеты с помощью самолета

Германский центр авиации и космонавтики (DLR) приступил к изучению концепта пусковой системы многоразового использования, предлагающего весьма необычный подход к посадке отработанных первых ступеней ракет-носистелей. Согласно предложенному концепту предполагается, что первая ступень ракеты-носителя будет оснащаться специальными крыльями, которые позволяет ей после отработки плавно спускаться до нужной высоты. Затем ступень будет прямо в воздухе захватываться специальными транспортным самолетом и в буквальном смысле буксироваться для посадки на землю, сообщает портал Space.com.

Немецкое космическое агентство предлагает ловить отработанные ракеты с помощью самолета

Чуть ранее в Германском аэрокосмическом центре заявили, что в рамках трехлетнего проекта с участием международной команды инженеров будет рассмотрен вопрос разработки «уловителя ракет». Проект, получивший название FALCon (привет, Илон Маск или Formation flight for in-Air Launcher 1st stage Capturing demonstration), будет основываться на успешно проведенных ранее симуляционных и летных экспериментах.

Глава разработки Мартин Сиппель из DLR рассказал Space.com о том, что Европейская комиссия выделила для проекта 2,6 миллиона евро (около 3 миллионов долларов). Если говорить о разработке ракет-носителей – сумма смехотворная, однако это лишь начало эксперимента, направленного на проверку работоспособности концепции, поэтому в ранних тестах для демонстрации планируется использовать небольшие беспилотные летательные аппараты, а не реальные первые ступени ракет.

По словам Сиппеля, идея концепции ловить, а не сажать отработанные ступени ракет исходит из желания максимизировать полезную нагрузку, которая будет выводиться на околоземную орбиту. В качестве примера он приводит ракету-носитель Falcon 9 от американской компании SpaceX. Она использует многоразовые первые ступени, однако для их замедления при спуске и посадке требуется использование дополнительного объема топлива, что в целом утяжеляет ракету и одновременно снижает ее грузоподъемность. В то же время, если оснастить ракету крыльями, а при плавном спуске захватывать ее самолетом-уловителем и «буксировать» на землю тогда в этом случае не придется использовать дополнительное топливо для посадки. Таким образом на орбиту можно будет выводить больше полезных грузов за запуск.

«Если мы сможем ее буксировать до полной посадки, то это позволит экономить на массе топлива для возвращения ракеты на поверхность. Это обеспечит не только экономическое преимущество, но и производительность носителя», — комментирует Сиппель.

По словам главы проекта FALCon, разработка находится на ранней стадии, поэтому оценка полной стоимости будет проводиться позднее. Если результаты первых испытаний окажутся успешными, DLR рассмотрит вопрос о передаче проекта в Европейское космическое агентство для дальнейшего включения в программу подготовки пусковых систем нового поколения. К примеру, аналогичным образом около двух лет назад в программу разработки пусковых система ЕКА был добавлен проект многоразового ракетного двигателя «Прометей» (Prometheus), концепт которого был предложен Французским космическим агентством (CNES). Его предполагается использовать в новой ракете-носителе «Ариан 6» (первый запуск запланирован на 2020 год), а также в других ракетах, которые придут после нее.

Сиппель добавляет, что финансовая поддержка проекта FALCon осуществляется не только за счет Европейской комиссии. Разработка будет проводиться с партнерами Германского аэрокосмического центра: Институтом машиностроения при Болгарской академии наук, австрийской компанией Drone Rescue Systems, испанской Embention, немецкой soft2tec, а также Фон Кармановским институтом гидродинамики и румынской компанией Astos Solutions.

Как указал Сиппель, более детальные подробности проекта FALCon будут оглашаться в ходе его прогресса разработки. В то же время глава проекта предположил, что как минимум технологическая основа для будущей первой ступени будет готова где-то к 2028 году, а первые реальные ракеты-носители, использующие такие многоразовые первые ступени, могут начать эксплуатироваться к 2035-му.

Как уже говорилось выше, более конкретные детали о том, как все это будет работать, авторы проекта пока не сообщают. Но отмечают, что техника подхвата будет заключаться в использовании «аэродинамически управляемого устройства», которым будет оснащен самолет, с помощью которого планируется ловить и приземлять отработанные первые ступени. Авторы проекта также предложили использовать беспилотный автономный самолет для встречи с отработанными ступенями, которая будет осуществляться на высоте от двух до восьми километров.

Немецкое космическое агентство предлагает ловить отработанные ракеты с помощью самолета

Название FALCon, хотя и похоже на название ракеты от компании SpaceX, имеет другой источник вдохновения, отмечает Сипплеь.

«Это не имеет ничего общего с ракетой Falcon от SpaceX. FALCon – это действительно птица сокол. Она способна резко нырять вниз за своей добычей. Именно это и послужило для нас источником для вдохновения».

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Источник: hi-news.ru

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