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ARSY modular orbital spaceplane as virtual laboratory establishes a new class of intelligent systems integration

The Ramstar Orbital Spaceplane is the first privately funded orbital launch system envisioned to provide the greatest level of sustainability and reliability with cost effective operations. The unique modular design allows for human crews and autonomous flight including a Fast Launch Option. Described by Matthew Bentley in Spaceplanes: From Airport to Spaceport, it is one of the first vehicles to utilize a modular architecture supported by neuromorphic systems. The new technology supports health-monitoring and control of the Ramstar through the entire flight envelope has advanced to one of the most complete simulations of a transatmospheric vehicle (TAV). The Ramstar Spaceplane Simulator is used to evaluate space systems and study a variety of mission scenarios and system architectures for HTHL vehicles.
Ramstar Orbital Spaceplane Engineering and Virtual Reality Simulator offers a unique open architecture environment to evaluate devices and systems. (Image - Christian. Moore)

The video is an animation of a high angle-of-attack (AOA) launch booster separation. Animation by Christian. Moore.

Simulation model specifications:

Length: 18.9 m [62 ft.]/29.0 m [88.4 ft.] Wingspan: 6.59 m/12.8 m (Model Mark 8/Model Mark 8.2) Height: 7.0 m/8.2m Total payload: 52,000 kg/88,000kg (manned/unmanned Model Mark 8.2) Propulsion (two-stage/three-stage): Reusable boosters, 2 turbojet engines; Orbital maneuvering rear pods with 4 thrusters each, 4 front thrusters and 2 vectoring thrusters Power: Two APUs, Star Sailor Power solar power unit, Star Sailor Power Energy Storage Module. Robot Arm: Rail deployable Maximum orbit: 1287 kl./800 mi. Launch: 2-stage horizontal-take-off-and-horizontal-landing (HTHL)

The “intelligent” integration of materials and instrumentation coupled with innovative neuromorphic systems offers advantages in vehicle design from the vehicle’s inception through flight testing and its entire operational life. “The exploitation of multifunctional smart structures in the integration of complex systems has proven to be efficient and reliable. The modular, open architecture approach to design creates a vehicle as an evolutionary work. The potential for changing the fundamental paradigm in vehicle engineering creates substantial opportunities for the development of intelligent systems and integrating technologies as a longitudinal process. Future spacecraft will no longer be obsolete by the time they enter service. Modular systems can be maintained, up-graded and re-manufactured to meet new mission requirements, improve payload integration, operations and safety.” From chapter on “Emerging Technologies,” Space Systems and Infrastructures by Dr. P. A. Menges, (2022) and Copyright © 2005 P. A. Menges, The Commercial Astronaut Handbook.


The Ramstar Orbital Spaceplane: History + Future

The Ramstar vehicle was briefed to the US Air Force in May 2001. The original design was a vehicle derived from the doctoral research of ARSY's founder, Dr. Menges. The hypersonic UAV pictured above, was conceptualized to take-off and land on existing aircraft carriers. The unique variable landing gear allowed for external boosters at launch. Several advances in airframe design included adaptive ramps for turbine engine intakes, allowing for air-launch from altitudes to 45,000 ft. An interesting note, Dr. Menges' doctoral advisor was the former National Aerospace Plane (USAF/NASP) Director, Dr. Bart Barthelemy.

The Ramstar + Fast Launch Systems

The current effort ensures the Ramstar will fly as an atmospheric test bed in the near term. The vehicle mock-up in in construction will support initial studies and the test bed is in engineering for production beginning 2022.

The new Ramstar Team will be announced the summer of 2021.

Rendering of ARSY - Star Sailor Group Spaceport. The partnership between spin-off companies and external partners has on-going design of renewable energy powered eco-service campuses for manufacturing, R&D and aerospace operations. (Courtesy of Star Sailor Group/Star Sailor Energy, Inc.- P. Michels)



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