Why Single Stage to Orbit rockets SUCK. The wacky history and future maybes of SSTOs

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  • 13/05/2018 को प्रकाशित
  • Rockets are HUGE, complicated and expensive. As a matter of fact, the rocket that took humans to the moon, the Saturn 5, was 111 meters or 363 feet tall, and had more separation events than dating teenagers.
    So why do rockets always split themselves into multiple parts. Isn’t that complicated and risky? Why throw so much away? I mean, there’s got to be a better way!!!
    Well how about if rockets were only ONE stage? How awesome would that be? Well this idea isn’t new… it’s called single stage to orbit or SSTO and it’s often considered the holy grail of rocketry.
    Well, today, I’m going to SMASH THAT HOLY GRAIL and explain why I think SSTO’s SUCK.
    In order to drill this point in we’ll teach you all about the tyranny of the rocket equation and help you understand why every orbital rocket, well, ever is multistage.
    Then we’ll take a stroll down SSTO history and look at some crazy designs that in some cases almost worked...
    And not to be a huge downer, we will take a look at some SSTO designs that MIGHT actually work, including the Skylon spaceplane that uses the awesome SABRE hybrid engine.
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टिप्पणियाँ • 4 485

  • Caleb Waddell
    Caleb Waddell 2 साल पहले +986

    "The Saturn V has more separation events than dating teenagers." That one killed me lol🤣

  • t2hk
    t2hk 2 साल पहले +1


  • FalconTheBird
    FalconTheBird 2 साल पहले +641

    Everyday Astronaut: SSTO’s suck!

  • Tech's by Gleb Bagrov
    Tech's by Gleb Bagrov 3 साल पहले +535


  • Jon Manson
    Jon Manson 2 साल पहले +51

    one of my uncles worked for Bowing as an engineer, when i was younger i once asked him about using air berating rockets for space planes. he told me that if you had the capacity to make reusable and sufficiently powerful air breathing rockets then you wouldn't waste the effort making a space plane, you would just slap them on as a stage one boosters.

  • Nick Kurzy
    Nick Kurzy 2 साल पहले +982

    600 meter tall rocket: exists

  • bificommander
    bificommander 4 साल पहले +6

    Make the rocket even taller, and the payload will start in orbit.

  • Michael Cox
    Michael Cox 3 साल पहले +2

    Hey Tim, what's your take on the practicality of non-rocketry orbital launch systems? Personally I'm skeptical about the feasibility of space elevators and mass drivers, but lofstrom loops--if they work right--seem like the way to go.

  • Alfred Petersson
    Alfred Petersson साल पहले

    I have a query. If you could somehow change the efficiency of the engines mid-flight, aka extend the muzzle or something similar to make it more suited for space flight, would that make SSTO:s more possible?

  • C M Barrett
    C M Barrett साल पहले +1

    Well done video. I agree with your assessment: until we have some material breakthroughs, reusable stages are the most efficient solution. SSTOs or horizontal launch from a carrier aircraft might help reduce turn-around time and ground facilities, though, so still worth pursuing IMHO. And the experimentation helps develop and test new technologies, even if the project vehicle doesn't pan out. I, for one, would like to see the aerospike engine developed, whatever vehicle it propels. I think that could be a game changer. The Skylon engines are pretty impressive and could make SSTO a reality. Loved the presentation.

  • William Ashley
    William Ashley साल पहले

    If I remember correctly though, there was a simple version of the moon program but they opted for the complex model because they liked it more. The idea was that a simple program has very few high risk events, where as the complex model spreads the risk over many events that can be dealt with at a lower risk basis.

  • JFROG 544
    JFROG 544 साल पहले +100

    Tim: "Two stages are better than one"

  • Braden Smith
    Braden Smith 4 साल पहले +394

    You should do a video on aero spikes or hybrid engines or just propulsion systems in general. Great video! One of my favorites by you so far

  • cheddar2648's Artisan Cheeses
    cheddar2648's Artisan Cheeses 3 साल पहले +1

    The thing that becomes apparent up front in KSP when building SSTOs is payload.

  • MythosGandaar
    MythosGandaar 2 साल पहले

    Subscribed! I've been playing KSP and following space expl. for years but you still said stuff that helped me understand better. Thanks and keep up the great work!

  • KiltedSkipper
    KiltedSkipper साल पहले

    I definitely would like to hear more about the Skylon.

  • effexon
    effexon 2 साल पहले

    Is there any estimate of timeframe when Skylon could deliver payload to ISS?

  • Tony Perotti
    Tony Perotti 2 साल पहले

    This may be a really stupid question but is there any consideration for getting rid of the first stage in favor of something like an electromagnetic launch system? My guess is that it is impractical but figured it was worth the ask...

  • Samuel Coniglio
    Samuel Coniglio 3 साल पहले +219

    Thanks for the respectable discussion of the DC-X Project. I was on that team. Re-usability concepts were advanced dramatically during that program, and several team members later joined Blue Origin and SpaceX.

  • Thelvaen Mandel
    Thelvaen Mandel 3 साल पहले

    As far as i understood other docs, one of the main issue with SSTO at the moment, is that the nozzle for sea level & the exhaust for low atmosphere/vacuum need to be really different otherwise, you just waste a lot of fuel with inefficient propulsion. Aerospike nozzle seems to be able to deal with that issue (for speed > mach 3), but there is still some engineering that needs to be done on those nozzles/engines :)