@MikeRichards, AC@17:15, @Derek Hellam, AC@18:07, AC@19:36
Pluto would have been a cousin to this. As it was a nuclear ram jet. It certainly would have been down DARPA's inter-dimensional portal, needing a very compact, IE near pure U235 fuel in a multi-ton vehicle that needed a greater than M1 launch speed to generate effective positive thrust. A description of the guidance system suggests it formed the basis of the later cruise missile TERCOM system. A modernised version has been proposed as a probe design for Jupiter's upper atmosphere.
That was the claimed "Aurora" plane replacement to the SR71. Claims of which seemed to have fizzled out. It was expected to be *very* loud but at its expected operating height (like the SR71) the noise was expected to disperse by the time it reached the ground.
"Isn't a series of controlled explosions really just a rocket?"
No. its a regular Otto or Diesel engine cycle. No one worries about them because they are wrapped inside an engine block.
I'm not sure how much von Braun's team had to do with the V1. The V2 rocket was their big baby. The hydrogen peroxide steam catapult launcher seemed more their end of things.
You have just described a conventional jet engine. They are capable of static thrust, which passenger jets to taxi around runways without a tractor.
What I know already.
Combustion can happen in 2 ways. Deflagration is the usual type, where fuel mixes with oxidiser as happens in gas cookers, central heating burners etc. Flame front moves slowly (typically < 5% of speed of sound), temp rises but pressure (and density) of products is lower. Detonation has higher pressure and density of products and moves at several times the speed of sound through a premixed media. Pay off is a hypersonic velocity, high pressure gas stream with (in principal) no mechanical compression.
Detonation *implies* a *volume* of premixed reactants being ignited. Or does it? Deflagration just needs a topping up of reactants. So what I can't work out is how do you do "continuous detonation"?
Warning. I know just enough about this subject to know I'm pig ignorant about it. Modelling this involves turbulence modelling of fast reacting chemical flows. The phrase "deflagration to detonation transition" crops up and understanding it seems quite important to making this work. The hardware looks simple but how it works seems anything but. INAME.
AC@19:36 HOTOL and the descendent SABRE relied on deep pre-cooling of the air and conventional (deflagration) combustion in a high pressure (100s, not 10s of atm) combustion chamber. They both have a compressor at the front. HOTOL used a warm inert gas drive for it, unlike any known turbojet.
Mine is the one with a copy of Kuo's "Principles of Combustion" I occasionally glance through.