Traction Assisted Horizontal Launching of Rockets

M.T. Liew (Malaysia)


Aerospace, rockets, horizontal launch, mathematical model


Rockets are used extensively for launching spacecraft and satellites. They are either launched vertically from the ground or horizontally from a carrier aircraft. For rockets of low mass, launching from a carrier aircraft is the most efficient. This is because at the instant the rocket engine ignites, the rocket already posses a high initial velocity due the carrier aircraft's own velocity. For rockets of heavy mass, currently there may be no aircraft capable of such task which therefore necessitates the use of vertical launching from the ground. Launching a heavy rocket vertically from the ground consumes a lot of fuel. This problem can be addressed by using traction assisted horizontal launching of the rocket. This technique involved giving the rocket a high initial velocity using external means before ignition of the rocket engines. This paper outlines the concept of traction assisted horizontal launching of rockets and the derivation of relevant mathematical models so that the initial velocity of the rocket at the instant the rocket engines ignites may be predicted either analytically or by using computer based simulation techniques. With these, improvements over the current practice of using vertical launching of rockets may be quantitatively assessed for specific rocket types.

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