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Author Topic: SF-197C - Hypersonic Military Space Plane Project [CONCEPT]  (Read 9212 times)

Uriah

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SF-197C - Hypersonic Military Space Plane Project [CONCEPT]
« on: March 18, 2016, 03:53:35 pm »

Hello everyone!

Since I joined Outerra a little over a year ago, I've been kicking around an idea, and I thought it might be good to share my preliminary concept to get some feedback, and of course for eye candy!  :))

My concept is to design a hypersonic fighter/interceptor type space plane, which is capable of single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO), conventional takeoff and landing, and speeds in excess of Mach 8 in the atmosphere. It is roughly based on existing concepts and technology which will become feasible over the next several decades, and may be employed in future 7th generation long range fighter aircraft. After a few sketches and a number of iterations, I came up with the following conceptual design, which is "like the F-22 and SR-71 had a baby". I'm still in the early mockup stage, and produced a very basic prototype in Outerra, including an experimental flight model, textures for thermal tiless and thermal blankets, cockpit layouts, weapon bays, landing gear, propulsion systems, attitude control systems, and flight control surfaces.

In order to keep a fictitious design as realistic as possible, (sorry there will be no flux capacitor here) I'm employing a propulsion system similar to the SABRE designed by Reaction Engines Limited, which is described as a "combined-cycle, air-breathing rocket propulsion system". In the air-breathing mode, it uses a pre-cooler and turbo-compressor to burn compressed air with on-board Liquid Hydrogen (LH2), while in the pure rocket mode outside of the atmosphere it burns stored Liquid Oxygen (LOX). At an approximate mixture ratio of 5:1 (five parts oxidizer, one part LH2), only a fraction of the total burned propellant needs to be carried, which makes the mass fraction (propellant burned as a percent of total vehicle mass) much lower, and thus allows the vehicle to reach orbit without the use of an additional booster or multiple stages. I have already been able to build such an engine and fuel system in JSBSim, but to make it realistic will require much more research and calculations.

One of the major foreseeable problems is how this would fit into gameplay which could be adapted for online multiplayer while remaining entertaining, the problem here being time. Newton's equations of motion and orbital mechanics dictate that a single revolution in Low Earth Orbit is approximately 90 minutes. Many of the games which use even somewhat realistic orbital mechanics employ a means to accelerate time, so that could can speed up the game. Now that does work, but only with single-player mode, and therefore many games have chosen not to use orbital mechanics altogether, or real physics of any kind for that matter. It is a problem of keeping players engaged during those long orbital periods, and that is just in obit of a planet, now image a transfer orbit to another planetary body, which could take days, months or years. The only conclusion I can reach is that any multiplayer game using real orbital mechanics would need to be multiplayer only to the extent of the crew of a spacecraft, while opponents would need to be AI. In this manner, the pilot could have control of the time acceleration, and in the gameplay the crew goes to sleep and wakes up at the destination, which is a nice, yet limited, solution. Now, people have suggested, "why not just use really powerful propulsion", but you have to remember orbital period is a function of velocity, and increasing velocity would only increase the semi-major axis putting you into a higher more eccentric orbit, which actually increases the orbital period. It is counter intuitive, but an orbit with a lower ECI velocity (fixed inertial frame of reference) actually completes one revolution in less time than an orbit with a higher velocity, because a greater distance is traveled in the higher orbit even though the velocity is higher.

Additional details on this project will be revealed in the future, but I would really like to hear any feedback and suggestions you might have!

Best regards,
Uriah

Conceptual mockup of the SF-197C flight vehicle and one of its long range missiles, dubbed the SBM-67A Ghostrider, as they might look in the future with special effects.




Here are some additional screenshots in Outerra.





« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 05:25:17 pm by Uriah »
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HiFlyer

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Re: [WIP] SF-197C - Hypersonic Military Space Plane Project
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2016, 04:31:14 pm »

Well its an exciting concept, but your post already indicates an awareness of the problems in making this multiplayer while keeping it realistic. As far as I know, simulations of the depth you are talking about are always single player in the gaming world, and only multiplayer in professional simulation environments. (trainers)

My suspicion is that if you tried multiplayer with this, somebody would quickly hack the code for a much faster (more science fiction) experience, and afterward, only a few die hards would use it as you intend.

The only other thing I can think of is that the roles of the various crew members be played by AI stand-ins that allow real players to replace them at any moment during a flight/mission.

Burn to orbit could be divided into discrete player stages/missions where new players could join the flight and replace the stand ins.

If no other human players are available, then the single human player who initiated the flight conducts the mission with an all AI crew. That's a quick reply off the top of my head as I don't want to write a book, but there are other possibilities as well.
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Juggernautz

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Re: [WIP] SF-197C - Hypersonic Military Space Plane Project
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2016, 05:22:44 pm »

Beautiful. I really love the Skylon concept and hope that it comes to fruition.

As for multiplayer with real scale space travel for transfer orbits, well... there's no easy solution there I think. Limiting the multiplayer to one ship is a good, if lonely, option. The 'hypersleep' option is another, putting those players in a personal instance for a little while while removing them from the multiplayer server and teleporting them to the new location. Theres a lot of suspension of disbelief in that case though. The other more common option is to have a futuristic narrative macguffin that allows fast travel; ala Mass Effect's mass drivers, stargates or wormholes (Interstellar).
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josem75

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Re: [WIP] SF-197C - Hypersonic Military Space Plane Project
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2016, 05:48:16 pm »

So this was the misterious plane you had in the light system runway pictures..  Amazing!

It will be posible to fly low too? Which speed wil be the top speed inside atmosphere? I hope more than 1100 knts from Mig
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Uriah

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Re: [WIP] SF-197C - Hypersonic Military Space Plane Project
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2016, 07:07:25 pm »

Thanks guys! I appreciate the feedback a lot. I've been meaning to reply, just been really busy the past few days, getting a little less sleep, and having a little more coffee, than usual.

HiFlyer, I really like your concept of allowing players to jump in and out of AI crew roles, I'll definitely consider that. About the modding/hacking, if this were a multiplayer game, that obviously wouldn't be allowed, but would still be possible in single player mode.

Juggernautz, yeah it is a hard problem to solve in terms of game play. Of course I'll have to start out with a single player proof of concept and see how things work out from there.

josem75, yes it is, good eye! Currently the flight model I already have is capable of taking off and landing from a runway and fly at low altitude, and conceptually you would be about to reach Mach 8 at high altitude, and possibly just shy of hypersonic (less than Mach 5) at sea level. I haven't been able to put much time into the FDM yet, but have the major functional parts working.

In general, this concept wouldn't be nearly as maneuverable as a typical fighter, and would rely on stealth and speed to gain an advantage over more agile aircraft. At hypersonic speeds, a manned aircraft would not be able to maneuver very much at all because the G forces would be incredibly severe, so your tactics would change to a more stand-off approach to air-to-air engagements, possibly flying with more maneuverable supersonic fighters at low altitude.

That is my concept so far, always appreciate comments and feedback!  :))

Best regards,
Uriah

Here is a more finalized concept design for an armored military space suit I am working on as part of a series for this project. Completely hand drawn except for the starscape in the background.
Please do not repost elsewhere without permission, thanks!

« Last Edit: March 22, 2016, 07:49:36 pm by Uriah »
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HiFlyer

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Re: [WIP] SF-197C - Hypersonic Military Space Plane Project
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2016, 07:27:40 pm »

Actually, the jumping in and out of roles was from me. Pythonpago has not commented in this thread yet.

Sorry about posting this thread in other sites, I was just assuming that you wanted the most people to get a look at it and the widest variety of comments. I will ask permission in the future, though.  :-X  =D
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Uriah

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Re: [WIP] SF-197C - Hypersonic Military Space Plane Project
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2016, 07:44:28 pm »

Ha ha ha ha!!!! Sorry dude, I was just reading a message of Pyton's before posting, my brain as I said has been lacking sleep these days!

About sharing, totally fine if you share any of my posts at any time, I know you shared that first post on this thread on AVSIM, again totally fine, I would just prefer that this concept design specifically not be posted anywhere else, partly because it is a concept sketch and not really something in Outerra yet. Besides that, share away!!  :D

Sorry again for the name mistake!  =D

Best regards,
Uriah
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HiFlyer

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Re: [WIP] SF-197C - Hypersonic Military Space Plane Project
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2016, 08:39:06 pm »

Ha ha ha ha!!!! Sorry dude, I was just reading a message of Pyton's before posting, my brain as I said has been lacking sleep these days!

About sharing, totally fine if you share any of my posts at any time, I know you shared that first post on this thread on AVSIM, again totally fine, I would just prefer that this concept design specifically not be posted anywhere else, partly because it is a concept sketch and not really something in Outerra yet. Besides that, share away!!  :D

Sorry again for the name mistake!  =D

Best regards,
Uriah

No problemo.
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PytonPago

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Re: [WIP] SF-197C - Hypersonic Military Space Plane Project
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2016, 10:48:35 pm »


Here is a more finalized concept design for an armored military space suit ...


... totally light-improved Halo helmet ...



 ... also, Newmanns spacesuit idea looks iteresting, maybe helps in the design : http://www.businessinsider.com/dava-newmans-skintight-spacesuit-could-be-nasas-future-2013-12
« Last Edit: March 22, 2016, 10:57:31 pm by PytonPago »
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Uriah

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Re: [WIP] SF-197C - Hypersonic Military Space Plane Project
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2016, 12:54:27 am »

I'm am working on something inspired loosely by the MIT Aeronautics design for an un-armored pressure suit that will be used by the crew on-board high altitude aircraft and spacecraft. My thinking is that a lightweight pressure suit might be worn underneath armor so that the armor doesn't need to be pressurized, optionally with a different helmet specifically designed for that role. In this manner armor could be taken off without depressurizing and without being in a pressurized environment, making it possible to take it off or put it on in a vacuum. I think future bulky EVA suit designs might do something similar to this, because they need to pack the extra life support systems a light weight suit cannot, but they also would benefit from being a modular second layer if you will, rather than a stand-alone system such as current EVA suits, and it makes sense for a pressure suit to be separate for a number of other reasons.

I want to touch on design philosophy a little, but take my words with a grain of sand and I hope no one gets offended if you disagree.

WARNING!!!! VERY LONG PHILOSOPHY RANT AHEAD!  =D

I'm a big fan of Star Citizen, but I have not bought into it yet in the current alpha state. The first thing that struck me about it which I didn't like was a considerable amount of the design seemed extremely unoriginal and even worse it appears to be so focused on aesthetics that functionality comes second in almost every case. One of their suits copies Dava Newman's design, (pictured below), and so precisely that I find it kind of disconcerting, however many people do not have a problem with it, and that is totally fine, it is just my personal preference. This is kind of disappointing to me as an artist and designer, considering how far the game is set in the future, and there has been a lot of critique about this, with opinions ranging from; "I love the suit so who cares if it was directly copied", to others such as myself pointing out that RSI has a habit of obviously plagiarizing a number of their designs directly, from movies, other video games and the real world. I love the vision and direction Star Citizen in terms of game play, but I haven't been taken up in the almost cult like following it has gained for a number of reasons, the major one of them being design philosophy. I really strive to be somewhere in-between the two extremes in design philosophy, and it is incredibly difficult. It is not bad at all to be inspired by fictional or real world designs, in that regard nearly all science fiction designs stem from the real world in some way or the other and many real world designs stem from science fiction. However, I am absolutely against copying a design directly such as in this case. Indeed many spacecraft in science fiction originate directly from the work of Ralph McQuarrie, the main concept artist for the original Star Wars universe, and in turn he was unquestionably inspired by the works of others before him. It happens unintentionally, even if you are not looking at a reference directly during the design process, because inherently we abstract shapes from those we are familiar with, in this way one could say my design above looks like a Halo suit or something, and while I didn't intend it, there is probably a lot truth to that, since I have played the game. Now think what the original creator of the Halo suit was inspired by, and so forth. All design can be traced to some origin. There is that, and then there is unquestionable plagiarism, which I find to be evidence of a lack of creativity. There are two pieces of advice I have picked up along the road that I try to instill in my concepts to avoid the problem of originality. The first is, don't put a single reference image next to the design you are working on or it will end up looking exactly like that or so similar it is noticeable. Rather, look at the reference, and then put it away and try to abstract from it as a platform to build from instead of a structure to build on. The second piece of advice is to know the subject matter and become intimately familiar with it at a level beyond shape and style.. I find many science fiction spacecraft to not make any sense, and this can happen when an artist focuses on shape and style too much, and forgets function entirely. Like yeah, sure it looks cool, but is there any solid theory behind the design, or does the thoery stop at "it looks cool"? Many of the best science fiction authors and artists will tell you that they spent considerable time researching things for the basis of their work. In real-world engineering design applications, aesthetics is always considered but it is the last requirement. For instance, typically the military might be less inclined to fund or buy an aircraft which is simply unappealing, and engineers are in fact taught to consider design aesthetics, in aerospace it is talked about extensively as being a major factor. But functionality is always first and foremost because it must meet the physical and functional requirements before anything else. Because of the trend of concept artists to either copy a reference too closely and it turns out looking exactly like something else, or on the other hand they do not think about function at all and only focus on shape and style. The work that stands out the most to me is that which lies somewhere in-between those two extremes, and in my opinion it is the best way to make original designs in a world where originally is so rare any more. The work of McQuarrie stands out for that reason, and if you aren't familiar with his original concept art please go take a look. He obviously understood functional design on a very deep level. While not being an engineer, he was able to express functionality in his designs that was unquestionable, even if completely fictional in theory. On the other side of the spectrum, I see much sci-fi design so focused on those two words I keep using, "shape" and "style", that it completely misses the entire point of design to begin with, and even if the shape has never been used before, because it only considers shape and style it is inherently unoriginal. Part of the fault lies in the art directors and not the concept artists themselves, because ultimately they make the decision on project which is often too driven by shape and style and neglects function altogether. Of course there are many artists who are successful and make tons of money, and if that is the only objective it is acceptable, but it is those who take a holistic approach to design that really stand out to me. Because their designs take everything in design philosophy into account instead of leaning toward one extreme or the other, when I look at their work that fact is extremely evident and really sets it apart. I truly believe almost any one can come up with a cool looking design, even if they are not an artist, but very few people can regularly produce work which is truly groundbreaking, that is why to me the work of people like McQuarrie and many others is so iconic and will never be forgotten. It is extremely difficult to find that happy medium, and something I am always catching myself straying from. In fact, you may have noticed the design above of the "SBM-67A Ghostrider" is an almost direct copy of the X-51A Waverider upon which it is based. I have a concept for one which is much different, but still inspired by the X-51A. This is an instance of me catching myself copying a design too closely, and I while I didn't look at the original when I was designing it, the outcome is exactly the same when comared side by side. To me this is a constant battle I am fighting when trying to create original concepts. And seriously, please [PLEASE!] give me and every artist your criticism, it is by far more important than your praise. I am always keen to hear the thoughts and practices of other artists on this subject. :D

Best regards,
Uriah



« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 01:19:27 am by Uriah »
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HiFlyer

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« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 08:53:49 am by HiFlyer »
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PytonPago

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Re: [WIP] SF-197C - Hypersonic Military Space Plane Project
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2016, 12:53:01 pm »

Well, didnt mean to outright copy it, just the philosopy of its function ... know russian aerospace is interested in something similar in design to one day switch even fighter-jet suits ( ya know, those white a lot of straps ... ). Youre true, originality isnt a thing most consumer-end thinking people are grabbing for like those in StarCitizen. I personaly like to occasionally flip some blogs and sites of lesser known artists  - there is where you fing orginality in it purest form - people doing it just for fun from art. Otherwise its just keeping the line white the most probable paycheck (one wouldnt believe how this economy rape of psychology common is in nowadays products, just take the automotive industry as one of the most visible ones) ... as for the reality-design, i allway thought of the Avenger and 300i as closest thing to "reality-check" it gets in SC. And i dont think Avanger (exept that gun-detail at its tip) is anything capable of flying in atmosphere conditions aether - just looks kinda re-entry capability legit.

Also, i kinda liked a saying the Sukhoi chief designer had - a good design is a product of hard work, but the best allways seem to be changing to work of art. (and hes not the only one calling the flanker sexy). Its actually true, if one uses science in its purest desire, it allways end up ... well ... kinda perfect.

Yes, 50s !! ... why are Neil Armstrong and Laicas spacesuit the only real ones among them ? :D :D
« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 01:11:23 pm by PytonPago »
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We are still undeveloped as long as we don´t realize, that all our science is still descriptive, and than beyond that description lies a whole new world we just haven´t even started to fully understand.

Uriah

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Re: [WIP] SF-197C - Hypersonic Military Space Plane Project
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2016, 04:17:10 pm »

OMG, paragraphs are our friends!!  :o =D  =D

But... but... but ranting employs a more run-on paragraph format...  :P

i allway thought of the Avenger and 300i as closest thing to "reality-check" it gets in SC. And i dont think Avanger (exept that gun-detail at its tip) is anything capable of flying in atmosphere conditions aether - just looks kinda re-entry capability legit.

Also, i kinda liked a saying the Sukhoi chief designer had - a good design is a product of hard work, but the best allways seem to be changing to work of art. (and hes not the only one calling the flanker sexy). Its actually true, if one uses science in its purest desire, it allways end up ... well ... kinda perfect.

And I think that is kind of my point, to design with no reasoning is not really design, it is just pretty scribbling without intention. Anyone can make things look cool, but to design things that both look incredible and have purpose which does not need to be explained, that is something special. On spacecraft in science fiction in general, the reasoning is really important. If it is supposed to fly in the atmosphere, it should look like it can, if it isn't than since it doesn't need to be aerodynamic what is the shape and style logic? If it is stealth, it the design needs to reflect that. And those are just the obvious points. Why would someone build something real with a crazy abstract shape for no purpose? Shape must have purpose or it does itself a disservice and it breaks the illusion of the story being told. Instead of inventing theory to explain design, make design to explain theory. As I said, originality doesn't mean it can't borrow from preexisting design, but purpose is key.

END RANT! :))

Regards,
Uriah
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chomper

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Re: SF-197C - Hypersonic Military Space Plane Project [CONCEPT]
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2019, 07:10:32 pm »

Thread mining imminent...

How far along did you get with this mod Uriah?
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